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Sudan’s RAC claims ‘detainee tortured to death’

February 27 - 2020 EL OBEID
Revolutionary Awakening Council leader Musa Hilal (File photo: Hamid Abdulsalam/Unamid)
Revolutionary Awakening Council leader Musa Hilal (File photo: Hamid Abdulsalam/Unamid)

The Revolutionary Awakening Council (RAC) led by former janjaweed leader Musa Hilal claims that one of its members has died in the prison of El Obeid, capital of North Kordofan, while another detained member has become completely blind through torture, ill-treatment ,and denial of health care.

According to the RAC, about 513 of its members, including chairman Musa Hilal, are currently detained in various Sudanese detention centres, including the military prison in Omdurman, offices of the General Intelligence Service (GIS), and secret detention for more than two years.

“Their only crime has been that they were against the defunct regime which was overthrown in the December revolution,” Mohamed Khaddam, Political secretary of the RAC told Radio Dabanga on Wednesday.

He said that the detainees are subjected to torture and ill-treatment, which led to the death of one of them in El Obeid.

Khaddam strongly denounced the prolonged detention without trial, calling it a fragrant violation of human rights. He added they received information two weeks ago that Hilal himself was transferred to the Sudan Heart Centre.

“The RAC holds the transitional government fully responsible for the health and safety of the detained head and members of the Council.” Khaddam appealed to all regional and international organisations to urgently and promptly intervene to visit the detainees to determine their general condition, to allow their families and their relatives to visit them, and release them unconditionally.

He said that the 513 detainees are held in Kober Prison in Khartoum North, in the infamous Shala Prison in El Fasher, in El Hadi, Badman, El Obeid, Port Sudan, Wad Madani, in the GIS detention centre near the Shendi bus station in Khartoum North, in Military Intelligence offices, as well as in unknown secret detention centres.


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. His lawyers argue that resisting the Al Bashir regime can not constitute a crime.

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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