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Sudan’s plan to disarm Darfuris denounced

December 24 - 2014 KHARTOUM / SARAF UMRA
A convoy of Musa Hilal's militiamen in Saraf Umra, North Darfur (El Rakoba)
A convoy of Musa Hilal's militiamen in Saraf Umra, North Darfur (El Rakoba)

The Revolutionary Awakening Council (RAC), led by former Janjaweed leader Musa Hilal, has denounced the plan of the Sudanese government to disarm all citizens carrying weapons in Darfur.

Dr Amin Hassan Omar, the government official in charge of the Darfur file, told reporters on Saturday that the government is determined to take action against the violence in the western region, and plans to “disarm all citizens, be it tribal militiamen or rebels, simultaneously”.

He announced that the authorities plan to arrange a conference, in cooperation with the Darfur Regional Authority, to discuss the disarmament strategies, stressing that “the state will not exclude any option for the disarmament on the ground.”

In an interview with El Youm El Tali newspaper, published on Wednesday, Omar explained the disarmament plans. Asked about militia leader Musa Hilal, he called him “an outlaw”.

“We will deal with him as any other outlaw in Darfur. We will engage in a dialogue with him first. Yet, if he does not hand-over his weapons, we will take them by force.”

In response, RAC spokesman Ahmed Mohamed Abakar, ridiculed the statements of Dr Omar, saying that the Khartoum regime should be stripped of their weapons first.

He told Radio Dabanga that “Omar and his regime are the cause of the tribal conflicts in Darfur, the destruction of the social fabric in Sudan.

“The state of Sudan has lost all its prestige. There is no accountability anymore. In short, the country has turned into a lawless chaos,” he said.

Unamid

At the press conference on Saturday, Dr Omar, also referred to the UN committee that is currently visiting Sudan. He said that members of the committee acknowledged that large parts of Darfur have become secure and peaceful.

According to the Sudanese official, the UN representatives stated that Unamid forces will leave these areas, according to the “gradual exit strategy” as requested by the Sudanese government.

Janjaweed leader

Hilal, belonging to an Arab clan in North Darfur, became notorious as Janjaweed leader, after simmering conflicts in Darfur erupted into a full-scale war in April 2003. Hilal, at the time serving a jail sentence for stirring-up ethnic conflicts and several murders, was released, and tasked with the mobilisation of militiamen, mostly among impoverished Sudanese Arab pastoralists.

Hilal’s gunmen, called Janjaweed in Darfur, targeted unarmed civilians in the region, attacking African Darfuri villages, but they rarely came near forces of the armed rebel movements.

Early 2008, President Omar Al Bashir offered him the post of Presidential Assistant for Federal Affairs. Mid 2013, however, Hilal returned to North Darfur, where his fighters launched widespread attacks on government forces and allied militias. Earlier this year, he established the Revolutionary Awakening Council, with North Darfuri tribal leaders. A source told Radio Dabanga in July this year that the Janjaweed leader was still a member of the ruling party, and Member of the Parliament.

Observers and followers alike were surprised to hear the news about a Memorandum of Understanding, signed by a RAC representative, and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North in July this year, agreeing to end the wars in all parts of Sudan, bring down the totalitarian regime, and establish a democratic system in the country.


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