Owners protest banning of their unlicensed vehicles in West Darfur
Thousands of owners of unlicensed vehicles (popularly called Boko Haram vehicles) staged a protest in El Geneina in West Darfur on Thursday demanding that their vehicles will not be banned from the roads. They also seek the custom office to open so they can officially import their vehicles.
Many people in Darfur, at a distance of more than 800 kilometres from Khartoum, buy cars smuggled from Chad, Niger and a number of west African countries. These cars are usually not registered by the new owners. Other unlicensed vehicles are cars used by (former) militiamen for private purposes. There are more than 7,000 of unlicensed vehicles in West Darfur.
The government of West Darfur starts a new campaign today to stop unlicensed vehicles from driving on the roads. The government has been trying for years to effectively ban unlicensed vehicles.
The owners of the unlicensed vehicles protested the ban yesterday. They claim that four-wheel-drive vehicles are the only means of transportation in the state. They also claim that the vehicles provide employment opportunities for youth and contribute to the provision of transportation.
The authorities imposes a fee of SDG 15,000 ($ 333*) to renew temporary number plates. The owners of the unlicensed vehicles call that fee “exorbitant”. They also criticised that it was unclear for how long the temporary number plates would be valid.
They owners expressed their readiness to pay the customs fee for importing their vehicles.
* As effective foreign exchange rates can vary in Sudan, Radio Dabanga bases all SDG currency conversions on the daily US Dollar rate quoted by the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS)
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