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MPs grill Sudanese Defence Minister

January 5 - 2016 OMDURMAN
Sudanese Parliament in Omdurman
Sudanese Parliament in Omdurman

Liberation and Justice Party (LJP) MP Siham Hassan has questioned the veracity of answers given to Parliament by Sudanese Defence Minister Awad Ibn Auf on Monday about attacks on civilian villages in North Darfur last month.

The Minister was answering questions from the MP regarding the attack on the civilian villages of Anka, Amarai, Donki Hosh, and Bireedak in North Darfur by forces wearing military uniforms. Nine civilians were killed, others injured, and 2,000 cattle were stolen.

MP Hassan demanded to know whether an assault occurred from unknown forces wearing military uniform on civilians in North Darfur; whether the Ministry was aware of this; the identity of the aggressors; what organisation they belong to, and the measures taken by the Ministry of Defence to protect citizens.

The Minister acknowledged that the attack occurred, but denied that it was carried out by government troops. Rather, he asserted that “foreign mercenaries and troops of the armed movements clashed with soldiers of the Sixth Infantry Division, stationed in the Anka area”. He said that the government soldiers engaged with them, defeated them, and seized a vehicle and several weapons. The Minister added that one soldier was killed and four others wounded.

However, MP Hassan described the Minister’s answer as “entirely not convincing and contrary to reality”. She was supported by the two MPs for the Darfur constituencies where the events took place.

In her response to the answer of the Minister of Defense, MP Siham asserted that the villages where the attacks took place are populated, and there are no armed movements or mercenaries there.

She alleged that the attack on these villages was carried out by Border Guards using 23 vehicles. “No confrontations took place in these villages. All that happened was an attack carried out by Border Guards.”

MP Ahmed El Tayeb Ibrahim Kafoat of Kutum constituency agreed that the answer of the Defence Minister was unconvincing.

He told Radio Dabanga that he and two colleagues refused to accept the answer of the Minister, “however, the majority of Parliament accepted the minister’s statement even though it was inconsistent with reality”.

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