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North Kordofan disarmament: 70 people arrested

January 9 - 2018 EL OBEID / KASSALA
Members of the Popular Defence Forces in Khartoum, 3 March 2012 (Ebrahim Hamid/AFP)
Members of the Popular Defence Forces in Khartoum, 3 March 2012 (Ebrahim Hamid/AFP)

Seventy people have been arrested in the illegal weapons collection campaign by the Sudanese government in North Kordofan, where it imposed a State of Emergency. 300 people have surrendered their weapons to the authorities.

In addition, Minister Rashid Haroun Adam told the Sudanese parliament on Monday that there are 1,600 smuggled vehicles in North Kordofan of which the whereabouts are not known. The search for illegal weapons and vehicles was launched here in December last year, simultaneously with the declaration of a State of Emergency in the state.

Haroun defended in the parliament the declaration of the State of Emergency in North Kordofan and Kassala: “The pre-emergency situation represents a threat to the security and freedom of citizens.”

He pointed to the threat of civil conflict and the risk for the local economy by not imposing the State of Emergency.

In December, Sudanese president Omar Al Bashir imposed the State of Emergency in North Kordofan and Kassala states, simultaneously with the launch of the disarmament campaign in these areas. Politicians and activists commented that there was “no need”. Lawyer Osman Saleh said he expected that the government will use it “to tighten its suppression on the currently developing public unrest because of the scarcity of bread and fuel and the crazy price rises”.

Kassala insecurity

Following the closure of the border with Eritrea, Kassala has seen a great security alert. The has formed a higher committee for mobilisation and deployment of troops, based on a proposal from the Popular Defense Forces.

The decision comes two days after Sudan declared the closure of the border Kassala shares with neighbouring Eritrea on Saturday. Large reinforcements of the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have arrived in Kassala and more convoys are expected to arrive.

According to the official Sudan News Agency (Suna) the decision will outline the tasks and competences of the committee that supervises the mobilisation programmes in the state. On a local level, councils are to provide the necessary support.

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