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Sudanese militia drive North Darfur gunmen from Kutum

October 24 - 2017 KUTUM
Closed shops at the market of Kutum in North Darfur (file photo)
Closed shops at the market of Kutum in North Darfur (file photo)

The market of Kutum in North Darfur was closed on Monday afternoon, for fear of attacks by militiamen.

A shop owner told Radio Dabanga that the market was closed after members of a large militia in the area took goods from a shop without paying. “We all feared that these janjaweed would continue to plunder the entire market.”

He said that the attackers fled when a large force of paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) entered the town. “They came in about 500 vehicles and managed to capture three vehicles belonging to the local militia. They also stopped gunmen in the town and removed their kadamool (a turban covering the face).

RSF spokesman Colonel Abdelrahman El Jaali told the Sudan News Agency (SUNA) yesterday that his forces entered Kutum “to drive away the outlaws and rebels headed by Ali Rizgallah El Safana who tried to enter the town to provoke chaos and destabilise the area”.

He said that the RSF have taken control of the area “to impose the prestige of the state and rule of law”. They are still chasing the militiamen. 

In 2012, the State of Emergency was imposed in in Kutum after repeated waves of violence. The governor of north Darfur appointed the military to take on police duties. Starting 2015 the first police and prosecutors gradually were deployed to return to the town in an attempt to fill the security vacuum.

Regular force

The RSF, Sudan’s largest militia, functions as a regular force of the Sudanese government, based on the 2016 Rapid Support Forces Act, which integrated the militia into the Sudan Armed Forces, and provides for the commander of the RSF to be appointed by the President.

Since its creation in mid-2013, the RSF has led a number of brutal counter insurgency campaigns, supported by aerial bombardments, against civilian populations in Kordofan and mainly in Darfur.

The RSF are also deployed by Khartoum to prevent East African asylum seekers reaching Libya in a project financially supported by the European Union.


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