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Musa Hilal tribe opposes Darfur arms collection

August 11 - 2017 EL SAREIF BENI HUSSEIN
Members of the Revolutionary Awakening Council (RAC)
Members of the Revolutionary Awakening Council (RAC)

The Revolutionary Awakening Council, based in North Darfur, denounced the attempts of Sudan's second vice-president to collect illegal arms from civilians in Darfur. “It clearly targets Sheikh Musa Hilal and his tribe.”

The council, headed by former Janjaweed leader Musa Hilal, accused second vice-president of involvement in a plan “to eliminate ethnic groups in Darfur”.

Senior council leader Haroun Medeikheer said in an interview with Radio Dabanga that the weapons collection campaign is clear in that it explicitly targets Musa Hilal and his tribe.

“We will not accept the campaign and will not surrender our weapons,” he said, claiming that the government's campaign would create more tension in Darfur.

“The Sudanese government has distributed weapons indiscriminately to the militias. The weapons in Darfur today are in the hands of the militias armed by the government – not the civilians.”

Medeikheer demanded the formation of a committee from the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Interior that would legalise weapons and coordinate the inventory of weapons and the government's vehicles.

'The Sudanese government distributed weapons to the militias and that's where they are today.'

Regarding the registration and confiscation of unlicensed vehicles in Sudan's western region, the Revolutionary Awakening Council blamed Khartoum for the spread of unregistered vehicles without number plates in Darfur. “They allowed militias to keep the vehicles they seized during the war.

“Militia members are involved in the trade of illegal vehicles. They use weapons from the government in robberies and crimes in Darfur.”

The council is politically and militarily targeted in these campaigns, according to Medeikheer. “The government seeks to eliminate Hilal by seeking to integrate its [paramilitary] Border Guards into the Rapid Support Forces, which are collecting the arms.”

Musa Hilal

Hilal heads the Revolutionary Awakening Council (RAC), an association of his combatants and native administration leaders in North Darfur. Its military commanders have taken control of the Jebel Amer gold mining area in El Sareif Beni Hussein locality. A United Nations Security Council report that links Hilal to vast gold sales in Darfur appeared in April this year.

The janjaweed leader gained notoriety after conflicts in Darfur erupted into a full-scale war in April 2003. Hilal was released from prison and tasked by the Sudanese government with the mobilisation of militiamen, who mainly targeted unarmed civilians in the region and attacked Darfur villages. Under United Nations Security Council resolution 1591 (2005) a travel ban and asset freeze are in place against Hilal.

Campaign

This month Second Vice-President Hasabo Abdelrahman announced a final campaign to collect illegal arms and confiscate unregistered vehicles in the Darfur region.

Abdelrahman said that that the Sudanese presidency granted a mandate to all its military, police and paramilitary forces to confiscate illegal vehicles as well as weapons without compensation. 

Also National Umma Party leader El Sadig El Mahdi questioned the government's ability to collect weapons and dismantle the arsenal of its allied tribal institutions, and warned of selectivity in the collection of weapons – leading to new conflicts.

“The civilians in Darfur have no weapons as only the government, its militias and armed movements fighting the government do,” rebel leader Minni Minawi of the SLM-MM added in his remarks to Radio Dabanga this week.


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