Sudan arrests sheikhs for arms possession in Central Darfur
The Rapid Support Forces arrested nine imams and local leaders in Guldo locality in Central Darfur from Saturday to Monday on charges of the illegal possession of weapons.
The paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) arrested nine sheikhs, including three imams, from Fuldon and Joi in Guldo over the weekend. RSF members and 30 of their vehicles were stationed in Katlwa to carry out the weapons search.
Five sheikhs were arrested in Fuldon. Their names are Imam Mohamed Zakariya, Adam Musa, Imam Mohamed Adam Ibrahim, Sheikh Mohamed Adam Abakar, and Sheikh Adam Ishag.
In Joi, Sheikh Ishag Younis Abakar, Ismael Mukhtar, Imam Abakar Bhareldin and Abdelkarim Musa were arrested for the possession of arms.
Witnesses reported to Radio Dabanga that the RSF seized four people from their farms in the same period. Hawa Adam Tore, Khadija Adam Tore, Hawa Ibrahim Sanousi and Mohamed Abakar Omar have been taken them to an unknown destination.
The RSF and the Sudanese army have been put in charge of the mandatory collection campaign in which they seize illegally held weapons and vehicles. The campaign started in most states of Darfur in November. According to Sudan’s Second Vice-President Hasabo Abdelrahman the proliferation of weapons has become a threat to national security.
Speaking to Radio Dabanga in November, Prof Hamid Eltigani of the American University in Cairo commented that the voluntary and mandatory collection of illegal arms in Darfur states resulted in the capture of “only 30,000 arms out of the targeted 700,000 arms. Most were simply collected from the Sudan’s Popular Defence Forces [during the voluntary collection phase]”.
Eltigani said that the campaign faces a lack of funds to finance the process: in North Darfur alone,12,500 RSF troops and police have been deployed to assist with the arms collection and the controls of unregistered vehicles.
In addition, tensions arose between Darfur's notorious militia groups and Sudan's (para)military forces over the mandatory weapons collection. Defectors of the paramilitary Border Guards clashed with former Janjaweed leader Musa Hilal and his militias on 26 November. Both Hilal and the defected Border Guards' leader Ali Rizgallah 'Safana' have been captured and imprisoned.
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