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Sudan: Red Sea state security to target ‘civilian arms carriers’

September 2 - 2022 PORT SUDAN
Eastern Front troops in 2007 (Christopher Milner / Pulitzer Center)
Eastern Front troops in 2007 (Christopher Milner / Pulitzer Center)

The Red Sea state Security Committee announced on Wednesday that they will enforce the articles of the Sudan Penal Code that prohibits civilians to organise themselves in a military system and carry weapons. The armed opposition group  of Shaiba Dirar rejects the decision.

In a statement issued by the Red Sea state governor’s media office, the security committee reported “the phenomenon of civilians impersonating the military and security forces by wearing military uniforms, making use of military ID’s and ranks military cards, and carrying weapons.

"This constitutes a violation of the Criminal Law and the law regulating the various government forces” and stressed that “whoever violates the law will have to face justice and will be punished.”

The committee further denied the existence of “security arrangements aiming to reintegrate any forces within the state's borders”.

Journalist Amin Senada explained to Radio Dabanga from Port Sudan that the decision of the Red Sea state Security Committee in particular targets eastern Sudan armed rebel forces, such as Tamazuj-the Third Front, and those of Shaiba Dirar.

“Red Sea state state is currently witnessing the highest level of lawlessness ever,” he said, and expressed his hope that the Security Committee “will not to be satisfied with data only, but will take practical measures to implement the decisions and contain the violence in the region”.

Shaiba Dirar, Commander of the forces of the Eastern Sudan Parties and Movements Alliance, told Radio Dabanga that “We are not interested in the decisions of the Security Committee. We do not recognize them and we challenge them to implement the decisions”.

Dirar Ahmed Dirar, better known under his nickname Sheiba Dirar, was deputy chairman of the Beja Congress political group until 2021. He was commander of the Eastern Front, an alliance of the Free Lions, the Beja Congress, and the East Democratic Party. The Eastern Front signed the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement (ESPA) with the government of Omar Al Bashir in October 2006, but its ex-fighters never joined the rehabilitation programme agreed on.

After the signing of the ESPA, Dirar clashed with Eastern Front group leader Mousa Mohamed Ahmed when the Beja groups armed movement diverged over the new government positions stipulated in the agreement.

In a Facebook post in March 2021, he was called “The strangest figure you can meet in the political scene in eastern Sudan. A man of all eras and regimes,” as he seems to have sought alliances with Darfur rebel groups, with the leader of the Sovereignty Council, Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, and with Gen Mohamed ‘Hemeti’ Dagalo as commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, on various occasions.

Dirar told El Raed news outlet in June that “eastern Sudan has suffered a lot from marginalisation, and we do not want the central government to decide on us anymore, and to build large buildings and villas on our expense. [..] Therefore, the Beja revolution will continue”.

“The Beja of eastern Sudan must be represented in any place in the centre,” he said. “We want unity and stability for Sudan, and for Sudan to be for everyone.”

Tamazuj-the Third Front is a small Darfur rebel faction that signed the Juba Peace Agreement in October 2020, together with the Sudan Revolutionary Front rebel alliance and the then Sudanese transitional government. The faction reportedly stationed groups of fighters in training camps in eastern Sudan. Rumours claim that the group was created by Sudan’s Military Intelligence.


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