15 August 2017

Sudan: Darfur Paramilitaries Adhere to Arms Collection

El Geneina / Zalingei — A number of Border Guards members in West Darfur have complied to the weapons collection order of the Sudanese government and handed over weapons and vehicles they illegally owned, contrary to Border Guards in North Darfur.

The governor of West Darfur announced that a group of Border Guards have handed over their weapons to the Sudan Armed Forces of the 15th infantry in El Geneina. The first order in the weapons collection campaign in Darfur, supervised by Sudan's second vice-president, was issued one week ago.

It warned people who illegally own weapons, ammunition, explosives or have unlicensed vehicles to hand them over to the joint Sudanese forces or the nearest police station, or risk a penalty according to the security measures.

Speaking at a news conference, West Darfur Governor Fadlel Mawla El Haja added that yesterday the first batch of weapons of the native administrations in the state was handed over to the Sudanese Armed Forces.

El Haja said that the number of four-wheel-drive vehicles in the state has amounted to 940, including government vehicles and other private vehicles of members of the Border Guards. The technical committee would pay money in return for these vehicles.

Rejection

According to the disarmament plans the Border Guards will be integrated into the official government militia, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Earlier this week the paramilitary Border Guards in North Darfur's Kabkabiya decided to oppose the disarmament campaign of the Sudanese government. "We will keep to this stance, even if this will put us beyond state authority," said the spokesman for the Revolutionary Awakening Council (RAC), established by militia leader Musa Hila.

"This is a tribal problem, wrapped-up into a state issue by collecting weapons." - RAC leader Musa Hilal

Head of the RAC, Musa Hilal, again publicly denounced the weapons collection campaign in Darfur. He described the process as a plan that covers the state provoking new sedition in the region, since the Border Guards refuse to belong to the Rapid Support Forces.

"It is originally a tribal problem, now wrapped-up into a state issue by collecting weapons," Hilal claimed. RSF members assigned to the collection of weapons, under the supervision of Second Vice-President Hasabo Abdelrahman, raided the houses of several Border Guards officers who owned vehicles and weapons provided by the state, said Hilal.

Last week a number of close followers of Musa Hilal were detained at the Darfur-Libya border. RSF members held Mohamed El Rayes, a bodyguard of Hilal, and six others on their return from Libya. This prompted the RAC spokesman to call on the RSF to stop monitoring the Border Guards, threatening that their detention "will lead to undesirable consequences".

Central Darfur inventories

On Monday in Zalingei, the inventory committee of the collection of unregistered vehicles and four-wheel-drive vehicles started operations in the state, which will last for ten days. Vehicle engineers are due to arrive to assess the vehicles, and decide on the compensation to their owners, according to a press release from Central Darfur governor's press office.

The committee has asked residents to hand over their weapons to the nearest police station, military camp or security service's office, anywhere in the state.

Governor Jaafar Abdelhakam, said that their principle "is not to harm or impoverish people, rather, the aim is to stop the flow of vehicles that have become a threat to security".

Meanwhile in West Kordofan, governor Abu El Gasim El Amin Baraka announced that the technical committee there has set two weeks to warn and encourage people to voluntarily hand over weapons and four-wheel drive vehicles, which will be followed-up with enforced collection.

State police chief Maj. Gen. El Sadig Ali Ibrahim, also director of the state security committee, said that weapons of the regular and paramilitary forces will be legalised and not be included in the collection campaign.

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