3 August 2018

Sudan: West Darfur Forces Seize Illegal Arms, Unlicensed Vehicles

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El Geneina — The governor of West Darfur reported the seizure of large quantities of arms since the start of the re-enforced disarmament campaign in July.

Governor Hussein Yasin told the press in the West Darfur capital of El Geneina on Thursday that several raids into town districts, villages, and nomads' settlements have led to the seizure of large quantities of weapons, ammunition and military equipment so far.

In mid July, the West Darfur authorities announced "a comprehensive plan" to rid the state of illegal arms and vehicles. A High Committee for the Collecting of Arms and Unlicensed Vehicles was formed to implement the compulsory phase of the disarmament campaign that started in Darfur in August last year. A joint force of army and security troops are implementing the campaign.

The committee will also check the roads on unlicensed vehicles. For this purpose, check-points have been set-up at specific crossings.

The governor said he hopes to declare the state free of weapons soon.

Last year in July, the Sudanese government 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.

The phase of the voluntary handover of weapons ended and compulsory collection began in end October. By then, about 30,000 weapons had been collected, out of an estimated 700,000 illegal weapons circulating in Darfur.

Moreover, sources told Radio Dabanga in January this year that a number of militiamen in the region refused to return the weapons and Land Cruisers provided to them to carry out the disarmament campaign.They said that hundreds of militiamen took the vehicles to Libya and Chad, towards Niger. Others went southward.

In early May, Sudan's Second Vice-President, Hasabo Abdelrahman, announced the re-enforcemnt of the disarmament campaign in Darfur.

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