Sudan: Detained Janjaweed Leader, Sons, On Hunger Strike in Khartoum

Khartoum — Since Thursday, janjaweed commander and leader of the Revolutionary Awakening Council, Musa Hilal, his two sons, and a number of his supporters detained in Khartoum, have entered into an open-ended hunger strike until they are released or put on trial.

On Thursday, Hilal's family said in a statement that Hilal and his four sons and a number of his supporters had been detained for a year and five months without a fault. They said in a statement "We have heard that the military junta has promised to release all the detainees and some people have been released, but our father and brothers are still in prison, where they have decided to go on hunger strike since Wednesday until their release". They added that the authorities have not allowed them throughout the period of detention to visit the detainees or know their condition in the detention.

The military junta, that assumed power in Khartoum following the overthrow of former president Omar Al Bashir on April 11, has pledged to release all detainees of the previous regime.

Hilal was arrested in a raid on his stronghold in Misteriya, North Darfur, in November 2017. His sons, brothers, and entourage were detained as well, in addition to some 2,000 members of his clan.

Hilal, who refused to operate with the government's disarmament campaign, was transferred to Khartoum. His trial secretly began on April 30, 2018.

In July last year, the NISS arrested Hilal's hearing-impaired son, Ahmed Musa.The next month, several 'associates of Hilal' were arrested from a house at Gurrat El Zawiya area in North Darfur.

Atrocities in Darfur

Hilal is held responsible for the atrocities committed in Darfur against civilians after the conflict erupted in 2003. In that year, he was released from prison by the Sudanese government with the purpose to mobilise Darfuri Arab herders to fight the insurgency in the region.

With full government backing, Hilal's militiamen (janjaweed) targeted villages of African Darfuris. They rarely came near forces of the armed rebel movements.

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