17 September 2017

Sudan: 'Musa Hilal Did Not Agree On Disarmament With Sudan Govt.' - RAC

Saraf Omra — The Revolutionary Awakening Council (RAC), led by former janjaweed leader Musa Hilal, has denied any agreement with the Sudanese government concerning the collection of arms from its forces.

RAC spokesman Haroun Medeikhheer called recent reports circulating on the social media about an agreement between Hilal and Khartoum "mere fabrications and rumours" in a statement on Thursday.

However Medeikheer acknowledged that there are initiatives to resolve the dispute about the disarmament campaign with Khartoum, including initiatives by the Sudanese president's uncle El Tayeb Mustafa and the sheikh of the El Gadriya Sufi movement in Darfur's Kadabas, Mohamed Hamad El Jaali.

Opposing disarmament

Hilal, the most notorious janjaweed leader, belongs to the Arab Mahameed clan in North Darfur. In early 2003, when Darfuri rebels took up arms against the government, Khartoum assigned him as the main recruiter of militant Arabs (janjaweed) in Darfur. With the full backing of the government, his militias targeted unarmed African Darfuri villagers, but they rarely came near forces of the rebel movements.

Hilal's stance towards the government changed over the years. Mid 2013, he returned from Khartoum to his base in North Darfur, where his fighters, including the paramilitary Border Guards, began to attack on government forces and allied militias.

He established the RAC, consisting of native administration leaders and militants from various tribes in the area, in Saraf Omra in March 2014. According to a UN Security Council report in April this year, he and his men are profiting from vast gold sales in Darfur.

In July, 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.

According to the RAC disarmament of civilians in Darfur "clearly targets Sheikh Musa Hilal and his tribe". The Border Guards opposed this plan from the start.

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