23 August 2017

Sudan: Darfur Arms Collection Continues, 'Weak Response' So Far

El Fasher / Nyala / El Fula — The second phase of the illegal arms collection is about to start in North Darfur, while a weak response from the public has been reported in South Darfur. Militia and clan leader Musa Hilal has denied the allegations of his ties with the Libyan Armed Forces.

The Acting Governor of North Darfur, Mohamed Braima Hasabal Nabi said that the state government has drawn up plans for the second phase of the illegal weapons collection and registration of unlicensed vehicles, in which police and security would use force to reach this goal.

An official source in the South Darfur State security committee told several media that there has been a weak response from the public to the campaign to collect weapons, despite the strict decisions. Tribes in Darfur have refrained from interacting with the decision in South Darfur, the source said.

The total number of collected weapons, for example, does not exceed 179 pieces, the committee of inventory and legalisation recorded, while there are an estimated 17,000 pieces in the state. The source said that most of the weapons which were voluntarily collected are pistols and AK-47 rifles.

Sudan's Vice-President, Hasabo Abdelrahman, said in a press statement there are deterrent laws in place for all violators of his order to hand-in illegal weapons to the collecting committees or nearest police station.

He announced the launch of the campaign to collect weapons from El Fula, the capital of West Kordofan, and called on the native and community administrations to play a role in order for the arms collection campaign to be successful.

'19,000 widows'

Governor of West Kordofan El Amin Baraka said that the tribal conflicts in his state has resulted in the loss of lives of young people aged between 15 and 35 years, while the weapons are used in robberies and banditry.

Armed conflicts and the spread of weapons resulted in 32,000 orphans in need of care, 14,355 disabled persons who need to be treated, 19,000 widows and 9,000 divorced women suffering from disintegration of society, the governor claimed in a press statement this week.

El Baraka added that the disarmament process in Darfur for the armed movements "is far from the disarmament processes common in the United Nations, because it is forced.

"Disarmament is the task of the Peacekeeping Section of the UN Secretariat which is tasked on the basis of a Security Council resolution." But the UN would assume this responsibility only by agreement or treaty between the parties.

Hilal denies allegations

Revolutionary Awakening Council chairman and leader of the Mahameed clan in North Darfur, Musa Hilal, described accusations against him of having strong ties with Libyan Armed Forces Commander Khalifa Hafter, describing this claim by Vice-President Hasabo Mohamed Abdelrahman as unfounded.

The accusation came after the Sudanese government announced they arrested Hilal's bodyguards, who were on the way back from Libya two weeks ago. The vice-president alleged they planned to recruit 1,000 people from Darfur in favour of the Libyan army commander Khalifa Haftar.

Former Janjaweed leader Hilal spread a voice recording on social media in which he challenged Hasabo to meet his forces which are based in North Darfur, "where he would know who Sheikh Musa Hilal is".

In the past weeks Hilal strongly defended the Darfuri Border Guards militia and renewed his refusal to integrate it to the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led by Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan (Hemeti).

Disarmament

Last month, the Sudanese government announced a nationwide disarmament campaign, to be started in Darfur and Kordofan. The army and the allied paramilitary Rapid Support Forces will be tasked with collecting illegal arms and unlicensed vehicles from civilians in the regions.

The authorities also plan to integrate members of the various government militias into the Rapid Support Forces, a militia that was created in 2013 to fight the various rebel groups in the country. The Border Guards strongly oppose the idea. According to the RAC, the plan to collect illegal arms from civilians in Darfur "clearly targets Sheikh Musa Hilal and his tribe".

Sudan

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