El Fasher — About 120 members of the paramilitary Border Guards who broke away from the Ali Rizgallah group arrived in the North Darfur capital of El Fasher on Thursday.
The defectors from the Ali Rizgallah group of Border Guards that rebelled against the government, announced that they will join the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Sudan's main militia that operates since January 2015 as a 'regular force'.
The group's members, headed by El Haj Ali Widaa, arrived with four Land Cruisers mounted with Dushka machineguns. They were received at the headquarters of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) in El Fasher.
Widaa said they decided to join the RSF within the framework of the current disarmament campaign.
North Darfur Governor Abdelwahid Yousif Ibrahim, welcomed the group and called their joining of the peace process "a true addition to the security and stability development in the state".
He stressed that North Darfur "will continue to collecting illegal arms without exception, and extend its hand to all who want peace".
The Border Guards used to be a government militia in Darfur. Its members are affiliated with former janjaweed leader Musa Hilal, backed by Khartoum, until Hilal distanced himself from the government in mid 2013.
According to the Revolutionary Awakening Council (RAC), established by Hilal in 2014, the disarmament of civilians in Darfur "clearly targets Sheikh Musa Hilal and his tribe". The Border Guards have opposed the disarmament campaign from the start. They have also rejected plans to dissolve the various government militias in the country and integrate the members with the RSF.
In July, Khartoum announced a large disarmament campaign in the country, to begin with in Darfur and Kordofan. The collection of illegal arms and cars would be voluntary in the beginning. It became compulsory in mid October.
The campaign is to be followed by a reform of "the supporting forces of the army", by which the various government militias will be dissolved. The members are to join the RSF.
The motives of the government campaign have been challenged by experts. In an interview with Radio Dabanga in August, Ahmed Hussein Adam, associate researcher at the University of London School Of Law, stressed that "the collection of weapons in Darfur comes only within the context of the implementation of Security Council resolution 1556 of 2004 under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which stipulates the disarming and dismantling of janjaweed militias and bringing their leaders to justice".
He described the current campaign as "scattering of ash on eyes and political fraud that should not mislead the people of Darfur".