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New call for Sudan junta to release detained janjaweed commander, followers

May 5 - 2019 KHARTOUM
Musa Hilal, leader of the Revolutionary Awakening Council (File photo)
Musa Hilal, leader of the Revolutionary Awakening Council (File photo)

The Revolutionary Awakening Council has again called on the Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC) to release its leader, Musa Hilal, his sons, and his followers who have been detained since 2017, as well as all the detainees and prisoners from Darfur who are still in prison.

Janjaweed commander Hilal, his two sons, and a number of his supporters detained in Khartoum, have entered into an open-ended hunger strike until they are released or put on trial. The cite the pledge by theTMC, that assumed power in Khartoum following the overthrow of former president Omar Al Bashir on April 11, to release all detainees of the previous regime.

Ahmed Abakar, the spokesman for the Awakening Council, said in an interview with Radio Dabanga that he categorically condemns the continuation of their detention.

He explained that the authorities are still denying their relatives visiting them and identifying their places of detention nor enabling them to reassure of their health condition.

Abakar appealed to regional and international organisations and human rights organisations to urgently and unconditionally intervene to release them.

He also called on the authorities to unconditionally release all prisoners of war and political detainees in Darfur and Kordofan.

2017 arrest

Hilal was arrested in a raid on his stronghold in Misteriya, North Darfur, in November 2017. His sons, brothers, and entourage were detained as well, in addition to some 2,000 members of his clan.

Hilal, who refused to operate with the government’s disarmament campaign, was transferred to Khartoum. His trial secretly began on April 30, 2018.

In July last year, the NISS arrested Hilal’s hearing-impaired son, Ahmed Musa. The next month, several ‘associates of Hilal’ were arrested from a house at Gurrat El Zawiya area in North Darfur.

Atrocities in Darfur

Hilal is held responsible for the atrocities committed in Darfur against civilians after the conflict erupted in 2003. In that year, he was released from prison by the Sudanese government with the purpose to mobilise Darfuri Arab herders to fight the insurgency in the region.

With full government backing, Hilal’s militiamen (janjaweed) targeted villages of African Darfuris. They rarely came near forces of the armed rebel movements.

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