11 August 2017

Sudan: Revolutionary Council Opposes Darfur Arms Collection

El Sareif Beni Hussein — The Revolutionary Awakening Council, based in North Darfur, denounced the attempts of Sudan's second vice-president to collect illegal arms from civilians in Darfur. "It clearly targets Sheikh Musa Hilal and his tribe."

The council, headed by former Janjaweed leader Musa Hilal, accused second vice-president of involvement in a plan "to eliminate ethnic groups in Darfur".

Senior council leader Haroun Medeikhir said in an interview with Radio Dabanga that the weapons collection campaign is clear in that it explicitly targets Sheikh Musa Hilal and his tribe.

'The Sudanese government distributed weapons to the militias and that's where they are today.'

"We will not accept the campaign and will not surrender our weapons," he said, claiming that the government's campaign would create more tension in Darfur.

"The Sudanese government has distributed weapons indiscriminately to the militias. The weapons in Darfur today are in the hands of the militias armed by the government - not the civilians."

Medeikhir demanded the formation of a committee from the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Interior that would legalise weapons and coordinate the inventory of weapons and the government's vehicles.

Vehicles

Regarding the registration and confiscation of unlicensed vehicles in Sudan's western region, the Revolutionary Awakening Council blamed Khartoum for the spread of unregistered vehicles without number plates in Darfur. "They allowed militias to keep the vehicles they seized during the war.

"Militia members are involved in the trade of illegal vehicles. They use weapons from the government in robberies and crimes in Darfur."

The council is politically and militarily targeted in these campaigns, according to Medeikhir. "The government seeks to eliminate Hilal by seeking to integrate its [paramilitary] Border Guards into the Rapid Support Forces, which are collecting the arms."

This month Second Vice-President Hasabo Mohamad Abdelrahman announced a final campaign to collect illegal arms and confiscate unregistered vehicles in the Darfur region.

Abdelrahman said that that the Sudanese presidency granted a mandate to all its military, police and paramilitary forces to confiscate illegal vehicles as well as weapons without compensation.

Also National Umma Party (NUP) leader Imam El Sadig El Mahdi questioned the government's ability to collect weapons and dismantle the arsenal of its allied tribal institutions, and warned of selectivity in the collection of weapons - leading to new conflicts.

"The civilians in Darfur have no weapons as only the Government, its militias and armed movements fighting the Government do," rebel leader Minni Minawi of the SLM-MM added in his remarks to Radio Dabanga this week.

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