The disarmament campaign in the states of Darfur draws to a close. Militiamen who carried out the collection of illegal weapons and cars have reportedly refused to hand in the vehicles that were provided to them.
Sources confirmed that a number of militias in Darfur refused to hand over the weapons and Land Cruisers that were provided to them by Sudanese authorities, to carry out the disarmament activities.
“At the beginning of the weapons collection campaign, the authorities gave the militia vehicles with red plates, and allowed them to work in transportation,” a source told Radio Dabanga.
When the authorities declared that January 28 was the last day to hand in these vehicles at the headquarters of the military commandment in one of the five states, “most of the militias have refused to do so”.
Reportedly hundreds of militias in North, Central and West Darfur have crossed the border to Libya and Chad, towards Niger, while the militias in East and South Darfur have gone southward with the vehicles.
Another source said that the inventory of the vehicle collection has run up to 1,500 Land Cruisers seized from militias in West Darfur, while on Monday, an additional 150 vehicles were handed in at the military commandment of Infantry 15 in El Geneina.
“Hundreds of vehicles have crossed the northern border towards Chad in the last few weeks,” the source said.
In the past weeks, people in Darfur repeatedly reported that soldiers of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) used violence while carrying out the collection campaign of illegal weapons in the region. The Sudanese government announced the campaign in July, to begin with in Darfur and Kordofan.
RSF and the army began collecting illegal arms and unlicensed vehicles from civilians in the regions the following month. The campaign has entered the stage of compulsory collection of weapons by the reinforcements of RSF and the Sudanese army. In North Darfur alone, 12,500 RSF and police have been deployed to assist with the arms collection and the controls of unregistered vehicles.
In Zalingei, the capital of Central Darfur, governor Jaafar Abdelhakam announced that the campaign will continue until the last rifle and bullet are collected at the military headquarters.
On Monday, officials of Unicef and the World Food Programme (WFP) met in Zalingei with governor Abdelhakam, and discussed what changes to the programmes are required to meet the needs of communities and the reduction of relief.
Abdelhakam called on both organisations to focus on the latter and in particular, to activate a food programme in Jebel Marra, where the project would contribute to the process of reconstruction and development