West Darfur customs police seize 400+ unlicensed vehicles
The West Darfur High Committee for the Collection of Unlicensed Firearms and Vehicles announced on Friday that the state’s customs police in the capital of El Geneina confiscated more than 400 illegally imported vehicles.
The so-called Boko Haram cars, as vehicles smuggled from Chad, Niger and a number of west African countries are called in Darfur, were seized at the customs courtyard awaiting customs clearance and licensing.
Army troops confiscated 307 vehicles from the paramilitary Border Guards, the Commission added. The owners of 256 vehicles received a licence after paying fees and a fine.
Regarding the illegal possession of weapons, more than 500 pieces of various arms, have been collected.
The committee pointed out that it was reviewing the issue of collecting the weapons of the Popular Defence Force from the Amirs and the native administration leaders, this along with the weapons that had been designated and codified by the state disarmament and demobilisation commission.
For years, the authorities in Darfur are trying to curb the rampant insecurity in the region. Unregistered vehicles (imported or militia-owned), the wearing of a turban covering the face (kadamool) and the carrying of weapons by civilians have all been banned.
Last year in August, army forces and the Rapid Support Forces, Sudan’s main militia, began implementing a major disarmament campaign in Darfur. The collection of illegal arms and vehicles was reportedly not very successful. Radio Dabanga reported in January this year that militiamen who carried out the campaign refused to hand in the vehicles that were provided to them.
The authorities in West Darfur and North Darfur therefore announced “comprehensive plans” to rid the state of illegal arms and vehicles in July. High Committees for the Collecting of Arms and Unlicensed Vehicles were formed to implement the compulsory phase of the disarmament campaign. In early September, South Darfur decided to collect illegal weapons "by force".
Many people in Darfur, at a distance of more than 800 kilometres from Khartoum, buy cheap cars smuggled over the Chad-Sudan border. These Boko Haram cars are usually not registered by the new owners. Other unlicensed vehicles are cars used by (former) militiamen for private purposes.
In August, President Omar Al Bashir ordered Sudan’s judges to “apply the law and cut off limbs and necks of anyone who refuses to hand over his illegal weapon.
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