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Protest rally for release of janjaweed leader detained in Sudan

November 25 - 2019 KHARTOUM
Members of the Revolutionary Awakening Council in North Darfur, 2015 (File photo: RAC)
Members of the Revolutionary Awakening Council in North Darfur, 2015 (File photo: RAC)

The Revolutionary Awakening Council (RAC), led by former janjaweed leader Musa Hilal, currently detained in Khartoum, has welcomed calls of activists and relatives of detainees for a protest rally on Tuesday.

On November 26, Hilal and other members of the RAC will have been in prison for exactly two years.

In a statement on Sunday, the council's spokesman Ahmed Abakar called on the Sovereign Council, the cabinet, the chief justice, and the attorney general, to release not only the founder and head of the RAC and his comrades immediately, but all members of the armed movements detained in Sudan.

The statement warned against the consequences of excessive use and abuse of power by the state against political opponents.

The RAC called on the Sovereign Council and Cabinet to intervene urgently to put an end to these practices. It claims to work hard to resolve the roots of the crisis in Darfur and give priority to creating an appropriate climate to achieve a comprehensive and just peace.

Saraf Omra

The council further reported that the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Sudan’s largest militia that supported the former regime, surrounded the market of Kurgul in Saraf Omra locality in North Darfur with more than 100 vehicles on Saturday.

The militia troops shot at the people and beat them with whips and sticks, which led to the death of Sanousi Maala, a cousin of RAC Secretary Mohamed Khaddam.

The RAC condemned the incident and called upon the attorney general, Unamid, and international and local organisations to investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice immediately.

The statement also called for the removal of the RSF militiamen from all these localities and area and replacing them with civilian police.


Hilal was held, together with a number of his relatives and followers, in a raid on his stronghold in Misteriya, North Darfur, in November 2017, after he refused to respond to the government’s disarmament campaign. He was immediately transferred to a prison in Khartoum. His trial secretly began on April 30, 2018.

Hilal is held responsible for numerous 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, his militiamen, popularly called janjaweed, targeted villages of African Darfuris. They rarely came near forces of the armed rebel movements.

In 2008, the militia leader was appointed as Presidential Assistant for Federal Affairs. In January 2014 however, he announced his defection from the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), returned to Darfur and established the RAC.

The RAC consists of Hilal’s militiamen and a number of North Darfur native administration leaders. RAC commanders took control of the Jebel Amer gold mining area in El Sareif Beni Hussein locality in July 2015. According to a UN Security Council report in April 2016, Hilal and his entourage were profiting from vast gold sales in Darfur.


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