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Paramilitaries sentenced to death for South Kordofan killings

September 14 - 2018 KHARTOUM
Members of the Popular Defence Forces (PDF) in Khartoum, 3 March 2012 (Ebrahim Hamid/AFP)
Members of the Popular Defence Forces (PDF) in Khartoum, 3 March 2012 (Ebrahim Hamid/AFP)

Eleven members of the paramilitary Popular Defence Forces have been sentenced to death for killing civilians in El Sanadra and El Shawaya in South Kordofan two years ago. Three others have been acquitted for lack of evidence on Wednesday.

A member of the indictment, lawyer Kamal Abdallah, told Radio Dabanga that the court in Khartoum sentenced them to death “because the relatives of the slain have asked for retribution, as they were convicted for murder, theft and causing serious harm”.

The court set the beginning of October this year to hear the words of the blood relatives in the final decision regarding punishment or amnesty.

South Kordofan killings

In September 2016 fifteen Popular Defence Force (PDF) personnel attacked El Sanadra and El Shawaya, killing eight civilians and burning large parts of the villages in their attack.

Residents protested several times against the attacks. Initially the commissioner of El Abbasiya stated that the attack was carried out by a group of outlaws, and not PDF members.

Trial started the next year and have been postponed several times. On 14 September 2917 the court refused to proceed with the trial because the defendants appeared in military uniform, contrary to the decision of the court in its previous session. One of the accused escaped from military custody before the new trial in October 2017, forcing the court to postpone the session.


The paramilitary PDF was established as a legal entity by decree in November 1989, a few months after Omar Al Bashir came to power by a military coup. After the consolidation of the regime in 1992, the PDF became one of the primary instruments of Islamist political and popular mobilisation.

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