HUDO: Four farmers killed in South Kordofan

Armed Reserve Department soldiers, formerly known as the Popular Defense Forces (PDF), killed four farmers and injured other three near Julud village, which lies 45 km to the southwest of Delling in South Kordofan, on May 26.

Members of the Popular Defence Forces before it was renamed and restructured (File photo)

Members of the Armed Reserve Department, formerly known as the Popular Defence Forces (PDF) militia, killed four farmers and injured three others near Julud village, which lies 45 km to the southwest of Delling in South Kordofan, on May 26.

The reason for the violence is “unknown”, according to Sudanese Human Rights and Development Organisation (HUDO), which published a statement on Saturday.

The farmers were shot while they were returning to the village from their farms.

Regaieg Said Mandu, Arif Elias Arif, Juma Zakaria Eljak, and Ramadan Naser Eldoud were killed. Abuzaid Gibril, Zakaria Sawag Juma, and Elsheikh Mohamed were injured.

No case was filed, according to HUDO, because Julud is located within the territory of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) faction of Abdelaziz El Hilu.

HUDO regularly reports about people attacked by militiamen in South Kordofan and Blue Nile state.

Militia dissolved

In June 2020, the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) dissolved the PDF and restructured it as the Reserve Department, as part of wider changes within the army. The command of the militia was also changed, it was integrated into the Ministry of Defence, and given headquarters in Khartoum.

The PDF were established as an Islamist militia after President 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, and also operated as a reserve force for the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF).

After the fall of Al Bashir in April last year, the militiamen continued to be operational, in particular in South Kordofan, assaulting and robbing people in the region.

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