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Militia leader: ‘Sudan no longer combats human trafficking’

September 6 - 2018 KHARTOUM
RSF commander Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan (aka Hemeti) reviews his troops (File photo)
RSF commander Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan (aka Hemeti) reviews his troops (File photo)

The commander of Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan (aka Hemeti), announced that his government has stopped dealing with illegal immigration and combating human trafficking and smuggling “because the Western countries have not responded to Khartoum’s efforts in this regard”.

He said in an interview with Sudan National Television: “There is no international response, so we have stopped fighting human trafficking and illegal immigration”.

He pointed out that Sudan is a major crossing point, dealing with 65 per cent of illegal immigration to Europe.

Workshop

However, Sudan’s Second Vice-President Hasabo Abdelrahman confirmed in a workshop held in Khartoum on Tuesday under the title Human Trafficking, Contemporary Slavery in a Profitable Trade, his government’s commitment to combating the phenomenon representing a contemporary form of slavery and announced that his government has been reviewing the national legislation in line with international law.

Professor of Political Science at the Centre for International Relations, Dr El Rashid Ibrahim, said Hamdan’s speech came within the framework of the government’s tactics to urge the Western countries to support them in the issue of illegal immigration, which considered international and a constant source of concern and headache for the European countries bordering the Mediterranean, this as well as the unrest of Khartoum regime with regard to what it finds of the dealings of Western countries that continue to list it on black lists or impose an economic isolation on it.

RSF Commander Hemeti  has hit-out at the EU before for not thanking his forces for stopping migrants

Sudan and the EU cooperate in the combat against human trafficking and illegal migration, with the help of funding by the European Commission to the Sudanese government that started in 2016. It has been implemented under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. At the time it contained the development aid package of €155 million to tackle the root causes of irregular migration in the country and improve migration management processes. This funding package, EU officials maintained, is strictly supporting humanitarian efforts, but Sudan watchers questioned how these funds can truly be tracked in a corrupt state.

The EU claimed it does not support Sudan's main paramilitary force (RSF) through its cooperation with the Sudanese government, in reaction to RSF commander Hemeti who hit-out at the EU for not thanking his forces for stopping illegal migrants at the border with Libya. In April this year, however, the New York Times online pointed to the EU “quietly getting its hands dirty” by outsourcing border management to countries with dubious human rights records.

Also international organisations have shown doubts whether the funding for Sudan’s border migration management to combat illegal migration will be channelled through non-Sudanese groups. The USA-based activist organisation Enough Project warned in April 2017 that EU’s financial support to Sudan in mitigating and combating illegal migration would assist the notorious paramilitary Rapid Support Forces – which the EU denied.

Detention

On Wednesday, members of the RSF held two men from inside the Kagero market in Fanga in North Darfur’s Tawila locality on charges of supporting the armed movements.

Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that RSF militiamen riding four vehicles stormed the market and detained Yahya Haroun and Adam Shogar and took them to their headquarters in the area.

The witnesses expressed their concern that they might be subjected to torture or ill-treatment by members of the RSF.

They appealed to human rights and humanitarian organisations to intervene to save their lives.


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