Radio Dabanga (Hilversum)

Sudan: Civilian Arms Registration to Be Held in Western Darfur

El-Geneina — For the first time, a civilian arms' marking and registration is to be held in West Darfur with the intent of curbing the proliferation of arms and reduce violence in the area, a UNAMID press release says.

The registration began on 30 January and the government of West Darfur expects to register approximately 30.000 weapons over the course of the next six months.

A two-day kickoff event was held in El-Geneina to mark the start of the initiative. It was organized by the Ministry of Interior, the Sudan Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration Commission (SDDRC) and the Bonn International Centre for Conversion (BICC).

It brought together nearly 200 participants from governmental bodies, the diplomatic community, native administration unions, and non-governmental organizations, as quoted in the press release.

Despite the process of registering and marking being voluntary, all arms not licensed after six months -subject to extension- will be considered illegal.

UNAMID says that for the program to be successful it requires the leadership of the native administration and involvement of different social groups through a participative "bottom up" approach.

Radio Dabanga has learned that last week, Sudanese security forces refused to grant Reuters news agency a travel permit to attend the disarmament conference in West Darfur, despite receiving an official invitation by the government.

Officials reportedly did not provide any reasons to prevent the Reuters delegation from traveling to the area.

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