General: ‘Sudan’s Popular Defence Forces are no more’

“There is no Popular Defence Forces (PDF) after today,” Member of Sudan’s Sovereign Council Lt Gen Shamseldin El Kabashi, says. He stresses that “the assimilation of the Mujahideen will not be on tribal basis”.

Badge of the disbanded Popular Defence Forces

“There is no Popular Defence Forces (PDF) after today,” Member of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council Lt Gen Shamseldin El Kabashi, says. He stresses that “the assimilation of the Mujahedeen will not be on tribal basis”.

During a meeting in Lagawa in West Kordofan on Friday, with native administration leaders and youth living near oilfields in the state, El Kabashi announced the continuation of the process of collecting arms from civilans, explaining that the weapons over which tribesmen are fighting are property of the state and will be collected.

He explained that the problems of the borders with South Sudan and Abyei “cast a shadow over the country and left many negative aspects that require addressing through the Joint Security Political Committee in addition to working to appoint an executive body for the administration of Abyei in the coming days.

He reviewed the position of negotiations with the armed movements and the position of West Kordofan in the negotiation, indicating in this context that the National Governance and Administration Conference will address many state issues and their status.

Minister of Federal Governance Yousef El Dei announced a review of the native administration from the administrative and legal aspects and finding a solution to enable it and restore its vital role, pointing out that “the country entered a new phase that requires a new partnership in which everyone finds themselves”.

Yesterday, the team accompanying the delegation held a joint meeting with the government of West Kordofan, during which the governor of West Kordofan, Major General Abdallah Mohamed, briefed the delegation on the government’s performance in the previous period and the challenges facing the ministries and localities.


The PDF was established as an Islamist militia after Omar Al Bashir’s military coup in 1989. Under international law it was considered part of Sudan’s military because it was created by statute.

The Al Bashir regime, however, defined the militia as a semi-military force of Sudanese citizens. PDF members received training, uniforms, weapons, and food, but no salaries. It played a major role in the distribution of weapons to, and military training for, tribal militias.

The PDF also operated as a reserve force for the Sudan Armed Forces. The members were mainly mobilised from Darfur and Kordofan, to fight against the armed rebel movements in the country.

After the fall of Al Bashir in April last year, the militia continued to be operational, in particular in South Kordofan, resorting to banditry, assault, and robbing people in the region.

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