10 August 2017

Sudan: Darfur Arms Collection Campaign Slated

Darfur — The government campaign to collect arms in Darfur and the confiscation of unlicensed 'Boko Haram' vehicles continues to generate widespread reaction in Darfur from the political forces and Sudanese civil society organisations.

On Tuesday, the National Umma Party (NUP) led by Imam El Sadig El Mahdi questioned the government's ability to collect weapons and dismantle the arsenal of its allied tribal institutions.

The comments come against the backdrop of the current visit by Sudan's Vice President, Hassabo Abdulrahman, who is touring Darfur to launch the campaign of collecting unlicensed firearms, and vehicles

In an interview with Radio Dabanga, Dr Mohamed El Mahdi Hassan, the head of the political bureau of the party held the government responsible for the massive proliferation of weapons that caused destruction of the social fabric in the first place.

He pointed out that the process of collecting weapons requires the necessary seriousness of policies and procedures to achieve peace and stability and provide security so as to avoid the need for possession of weapons by civilians.

Selectivity

El Mahdi warned of selectivity in the collection of weapons leading to new conflicts.

The Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) group described the government's decisions to confiscate all unlicensed 'Boko Haram' vehicles in Darfur after it had allowed and encouraged their importation into the country; "a new Mawasir Market aimed at draining all the property of the innocent Darfuri people while it had systematically allowed their licensing process.

'Window dressing'

Salah Hamid El Wali, the spokesman for the group described the campaign as window dressing for the international community.

"The aim of the weapon collection is to send a message to the international community and in line with the project to lift the economic sanctions and the diplomatic discourse of the regime that it is serious about controlling security in Darfur," El Wali said.

Presidential Decree

According to Presidential Decree 419 of 2017, illegal weapons, ammunition, and vehicles are to be handed immediately to the Sudan Armed Forces, the state commissioner, or the nearest military or police unit.

A Sudan News Agency (SUNA) statement said that the competent authorities will organise a comprehensive campaign for the collection of unlicensed firearms, ammunitions, and explosives., and called on illegal arms holders to cooperate with the Sudan Armed Forces (the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces).

Any legal action will be taken in line with Sudan's Criminal Law, the Public Safety Act, and the Arms and Ammunition Act of 1986.

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