Musa Hilal, former Janjaweed leader and head of the Revolutionary Awakening Council (RAC), will discuss options for peace in Darfur with the Sudanese government.
Hilal told a gathering of his followers in Khartoum on Wednesday, that RAC will discuss a number of issues with the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), including the registration of RAC as a political party, and security arrangements, social reconciliation, and political reforms in Darfur.
“RAC will present its initiative to solve the conflicts in the war-torn western region, internally and externally, to prevent more bloodshed, and realise reconciliation on all levels of the Darfuri society,” he said.
“We will demand from the Sudanese Presidency to hand over the Darfur peace file to the people of Darfur, as they know how to resolve their problems better than any government institution or rebel movement.”
The former Janjaweed leader had arrived at Khartoum on Saturday 30 May, to attend the swearing-in ceremony of President Omar al Bashir, re-elected in April, on Tuesday.
In his address to his followers on Wednesday, he strongly denied allegations that his forces joined the rebels, “to blackmail the NCP for political and development gains.
“We returned to Darfur in coordination with the Sudanese Presidency. We know exactly what we are doing in Darfur, and so does the Presidency,” he stressed.
“If we would have been insurgents, we would have fought the current legitimate government. That we returned to Khartoum to attend the inauguration of President al Bashir is the best proof that we are no opponents of the government or outlaws.”
Hilal, belonging to an Arab clan in North Darfur, became notorious as Janjaweed leader, after simmering conflicts in Darfur erupted into a full-scale war in April 2003. Hilal, at the time serving a jail sentence for stirring-up ethnic conflicts and several murders, was released by the Sudanese government, and tasked with the mobilisation of militiamen, mostly among impoverished Sudanese Arab pastoralists.
His gunmen, called Janjaweed in Darfur, targeted unarmed civilians in the region, attacking African Darfuri villages, but they rarely came near forces of the armed rebel movements.
Early 2008, President Omar Al Bashir offered him the post of Presidential Assistant for Federal Affairs. Mid 2013, however, Hilal returned to North Darfur, where his fighters launched widespread attacks on government forces and allied militias. They seized control of large parts of North Darfur’s Saraf Umra, Kutum, Kabkabiya, El Sereif Beni Hussein, and El Waha localities.
Early 2014, the former Janajaweed leader established the Revolutionary Awakening Council (RAC), together with a number of North Darfuri tribal leaders. Observers and followers alike were surprised to hear about a Memorandum of Understanding, signed between the RAC and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North in July 2014, agreeing to “end the wars in all parts of Sudan, bring down the totalitarian regime, and establish a democratic system” in the country.
In December last year, Hilal, still a member of the NCP, called for a nationwide intifada to topple the Sudanese government.