East Darfur authorities transported 21 Rizeigat and Maaliya leaders to Khartoum on Sunday. The tribal leaders have reportedly been summoned by the Presidency. Dozens of militants from both tribes were detained in Keleikil. In South Darfur, the collection of illegal weapons from tribesmen and other civilians will commence on 6 August.
Speaking to Radio Dabanga from Ed Daein, capital of East Darfur, a Rizeigat tribesman said that the security authorities summoned 13 Rizeigat leaders, including the tribe’s nazir (native administration leader) and his deputy, to Keleikil, 20 km east of Ed Daein, on Saturday.
Seven Maaliya omdas were summoned as well, to Keleikil and Mejlid. From there, the two groups were transported to Ed Daein airport on Sunday morning.
He said that the Rizeigat nazir demanded to see the warrant for his detention. “The authorities however told them they were summoned by the Presidency in Khartoum. But putting them in an isolated room at the airport and preventing people from seeing them, means they were being detained.”
A Maaliya activist confirmed that his tribe’s omdas left Ed Daein by air to Khartoum on Sunday. Later that day they would be joined by their nazir. The activist said that the Sudanese Presidency reportedly summoned the leaders of the warring tribes to Khartoum for “an exchange of views”.
The East Darfur security forces also arrested 54 Rizeigat and 34 Maaliya militant tribesmen at the market of Keleikil on Saturday.
“They stripped them of their weapons and moved them to Nyala,” he told this station. “They will probably be transferred to prisons in Port Sudan so that their relatives will not be able to free them by force.”
Almost 50 tribesmen were killed in new Maaliya-Rizeigat clashes east of Muhajiriya in East Darfur a week ago. The fighting was triggered by accusations of cattle theft. The East Darfur authorities deployed a military buffer force to separate the militants.
Both communities agreed to promote peaceful coexistence after the clashes.
Second Vice-President Hasabo Abdelrahman is currently working on the legal measures to be taken to collect weapons from civilians in Darfur and Kordofan.
Khartoum decided to launch a broad disarmament campaign in the western region of the country, to start before the end of this year.
The vice-president discussed the situation in East Darfur with Attorney-General Omar Ahmed Mohamed on Sunday. In a press statement after the meeting, the attorney-general said they talked about with the legal situation and the status of the arms collection campaign in East Darfur
Mohamed appealed to “all those carrying unlicensed weapons to hand them before the end of the deadline set by the authorities”.
He said that illegal arms will be collected “from all states of the country, to promote security, peace, and stability”, and stressed that legal measures will be taken against anyone who does not deliver his weapons to the authorities.
In South Darfur, the collection of illegal weapons from tribesmen and other civilians will commence on 6 August.
Vehicles will also be screened. Land Cruisers will be only in the hands of the regular forces, Governor Adam El Faki said in a press conference in the capital of Nyala on Sunday.
He pointed out that the operation will be carried out in cooperation with civil society and native administration leaders.
Withdrawal of Unamid
The governor also announced the withdrawal of Unamid peacekeepers from Ed El Fursan and Tullus on 30 July, and from Buram and Kass on 30 August.
Last month, the UN Security Council decided on a major reduction of peacekeepers in Darfur. The mandate of the UN-AU peacekeeping Mission in Darfur (Unamid) was renewed until 30 June next year, but the mission will be restructured “in two six-month phases while closely monitoring the situation on the ground”. Within the coming six months, more than a third of the nearly 19,000 troops and police officers of Unamid will be withdrawn.
According to the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the decision to downsize Unamid is “an explicit recognition of the realisation of peace and security” in the region.
Darfur displaced, Sudanese politicians, rebel movements, and regional and international organisations however have all warned for the consequences of a downsized Unamid, in particular as violence against people in Darfur has increased in the past years.
“The last couple of years, the attacks, killings, rapes, theft, and kidnapping have increased again. There is ample evidence for this,” Hussein Abusharati, Spokesman for the Darfur Displaced and Refugees Association commented.
According to the Sudan Democracy First Group, cutting the number of Unamid forces will leave the people in Darfur “more vulnerable to abuses of all kinds by the Sudanese army, paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and other militias operating in the region”.