Musa Hilal 'establishes administration' in North Darfur
The militia leader Musa Hilal has 'established his own administration' in four towns in North Darfur on Wednesday. His Janjaweed troops are now in control of the towns of Saraf Omra, Kutum, Kabkabiya, and El Waha.
Musa Hilal announced he has dismissed the commissioner of Saraf Omra, Kamaleldin Yahya, who was appointed by the Governor of North Darfur, Osman Kibir, in consultation with Khartoum. The name of the new commissioner was not yet published on Wednesday. Also the other senior part of the local administration was replaced.
Representatives of Hilal had a meeting with the staff of the local administration and explained the new hierarchy. He claims to be responsible for all public offices and services, including the hospital in Saraf Omra, schools, and all other government institutions. Most of these institutions have remained closed, including the market.
War in Darfur
Musa Hilal and his militiamen, responsible for Janjaweed campaigns against civilians in Darfur since 2004, were armed by the Sudanese government. Now, he has distanced himself from the regime, and established the Revolutionary Awakening Council. His militia forces have attacked dozens of North Darfur villages during the past weeks, killing at least 97 government troops, including high ranked officers.
On Saturday, the government sent a high delegation, including Vice-President Dr Abdelrahman Hasabo and the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mustafa Ismail, but Hilal refused to meet them.
While the civil war in Darfur has flared up to highest level since 2004, with military and paramilitary campaigns throughout Darfur, and aerial bombardments of villages in East Jebel Marra, the Janjaweed forces of Musa Hilal have turned against the Sudanese army. Hilal's grudges are specifically targeted at Governor Osman Kibir, who narrowly escaped an attack on Saturday in Kuma in North Darfur.
Since the clashes between the government forces and Musa Hilal's militias started two weeks ago, and Hilal attacked Saraf Umra, more than 55,000 people have been displaced, the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported on 12 March. Citizens are suffering from a lack of food and other commodities.
Musa Hilal has repeatedly said in the past that his fighters are engaged in a jihad and will not disarm, “even if the government demands it”. In a communique dated in 2004, he demanded his militias to "change the demography of Darfur and empty it of African tribes”. He admitted that the Janjaweed were under full control of Khartoum.
After being imprisoned for the murder of 17 people of African descent, and a robbery of the Central Bank of Nyala, he was released by Khartoum after the war broke out in Darfur in February 2003, without explanation.
Early 2008, Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir offered the militia leader a post as a Presidential Assistant for Federal Affairs. Mid-2013 Hilal returned to North Darfur.
Map: Saraf Omra in the west, Kutum in the north, Kabkabiya in the middle, in North Darfur.
North Darfur Governor downplays assassination attempt (18 March 2014)
OCHA: ‘55,000 newly displaced in North Darfur’s Saraf Omra’ (18 March 2014)
Khartoum delegation to negotiate with Darfur Janjaweed leader (17 March 2014)
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