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Umma Party leader charged by Sudan security, SPLM-N warns of new militia recruits

May 14 - 2014 KHARTOUM

The Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) has filed a criminal complaint against National Umma Party (NUP) leader, Imam Sadig El Mahdi, on Monday, charging him with defamation and breaching public safety. Yasir Arman, the secretary general of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) has warned for the consequences of the recent recruitment of about 29,000 Janjaweed forces among Sudanese, Chadian, and Mali tribesmen.

In a press conference last week at the NUP’s headquarters in Omdurman, El Mahdi had accused the RSF, commanded by the NISS, of committing war crimes, rapes, and the looting and burning of  villages in Darfur, in addition to recruiting non-Sudanese nationals, and operating beyond the scope of the regular armed troops.

The NISS has accused him of “disrespecting the prestige of the state, discrediting the regular armed forces, and inciting the international community against Sudan”. The charges were filed under articles 62, 66, 69, and 159 of the 1991 Criminal Law regarding defamation, and the publication of false news and items “causing unrest among the regular troops, and breaching public peace”.

El Mahdi reacted to the accusations in a statement issued on Tuesday. He said that he was ready to stand a “public and fair trial, that allows for the right of defence, and in which the plaintiff is not the opponent and the judge at the same time”. He stressed that his criticism about the violence in Darfur is based on a “national moral responsibility, rather than personal or partisan views, or political considerations,” saying that “Only a dumb devil keeps silent,” and “Speaking the truth is the best form of jihad when the sultan is unfair.”

He reiterated his party’s demand for an investigation into the recent attacks of the RSF militias on hundreds of villages in Darfur.

Dry season campaign

Radio Dabanga reported earlier that Border Guards Commander, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, better known as Hemeti, had recruited large numbers of young Darfuris in September and October last year, against the backdrop of Sudanese government officials announcement of a “decisive dry season campaign against all rebel forces in Sudan”.

The about 6,000 recruits were trained as paramilitary troops in camps near Khartoum. They were sent to fight in South Kordofan, along with the Sudanese army.

From the end of 2013 onwards, large numbers of these militiamen were stationed in the area near El Obeid, the capital of North Kordofan. After widespread assaults of citizens in El Obeid and surrounding villages, the RSF were expelled from North Kordofan in February 2014 and re-stationed in Darfur “to fight rebel groups”.

The North Kordofan governor, Ahmed Haroun, explained at that time that the militia forces were called Rapid Support Forces, operating under the command of the operations body of the NISS, headed by Maj. Gen. Abbas Abdel Aziz.

29,000 Janjaweed

SPLM-N secretary-general Yasir Arman has called for a nationwide campaign against the RSF militias. “Recent militia attacks in South Kordofan have led to the displacement of 90,000 civilians in the areas of Rashad, El Abbasiya, and El Kawaleeb. In Darfur, the RSF have made more than 200,000 people homeless.”

“About 29,000 Janjaweed forces have recently been recruited among Sudanese, Chadian and Mali tribesmen.”

SPLM-N leader stressed that the “absorption of Janjaweed forces, experienced in murder and robbery, into the regular armed forces is a very dangerous development”. “The RSF troops are mercenaries, who do anything for material gains. This development may tear Sudan apart by destroying the social fabric.”

He called upon “all Sudanese, at home and abroad, to campaign against the RSF war criminals, as we cannot remain silent on this matter”.

File photo: Sadig El Mahdi (L) and Yasir Arman at a seminar on national elections, March 2010


'Attacks in North Darfur’s El Fasher displaced 27,751': MP (11 May 2014)

‘Ethnic cleansing behind attacks on Darfur villages’: JEM (3 April 2014)

More than 127 South Darfur villages razed (2 April 2014)

Darfur rebels accuse Sudan’s Vice-President of supervising militias (1 April 2014)

Rapid Support Forces welcomed in South Darfur capital; rebels accused of attacks (4 March 2014)

Thousands displaced in attack on more than 35 villages in South Darfur (28 February 2014)

‘Rapid Support Forces in Darfur to fight rebels’: General (26 February 2014)

$3 million for withdrawal of North Kordofan's Janjaweed (14 February 2014)

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