Zalingei — According to the Governor of Central Darfur 6,164 weapons have been collected so far in the state. In North Darfur, more than 8,000 weapons were seized since October.
On Saturday, Governor Jaafar Abdelhakam told the press in Zalingei that army and militia troops have seized 6,164 small arms and cannons, as well as large quantities of ammunition.
In addition, 523 motorcycles and 150 four-wheel-drive vehicles without a number plate have been confiscated. Abdelhakam promised that the owners will be compensated.
He further reported that the owners of 2,020 more unlicensed vehicles have started with customs and licensing procedures.
The commander of the 6th Infantry of El Fasher, Maj. Gen. Adel El Jamri, reported the collection of more than 8,000 weapons in North Darfur on Saturday.
He said that the weapons seized in the state since last October included anti-aircraft guns, machineguns, landmines, rocket launchers, and various other arms.
"Weapons of these types should be in the hands of the state rather than civilians," he told reporters in the North Darfur capital.
He added that "most of the outlaws who used to wreak havoc on the roads in the state and terrify the people have been arrested".
The Governor of North Darfur, however, said on December 20 that the arms collection was not very successful so far. He pointed to the spread of huge numbers of arms in the state, and stressed that there is still a long way to go. He did not give exact numbers.
The governor told the state parliament on November 21 that 7,830 weapons, 240 four-wheel-drive vehicles for military use, and 287 other unlicensed vehicles had been collected.
In July, Khartoum announced a large disarmament campaign in the country, to begin with in Darfur and Kordofan.
Members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Sudan's main government militia, and the army were tasked to collect illegal arms and unlicensed vehicles from civilians. In North Darfur alone, more than 12,500 RSF troops were deployed for this purpose.
At the end of October, the window for the voluntary handover of weapons ended and compulsory collection began. Darfuri government officials reported that about 30,000 weapons were collected during the voluntary phase. The number of illegal weapons in the region, however. is estimated at about 700,000 pieces.
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.