Rashad — Three masked men in Popular Defence Forces uniform shot and killed Hassan Ismail (51), who was travelling from his village of Baloula to nearby Rashad in South Kordofan on a motorcycle on Saturday.
The assassins obstructed the road and shot Ismail when he stopped. They then fled on two motorcycles, the Sudanese human rights organisation HUDO reports. The reason for the attack is unknown.
Hassan was found in a pool of blood but still breathing by people on a passing lorry. His motorcycle was nearby. Ismail was taken to Rashad hospital where he died. On the truck he told which uniform his attackers wore.
The case was reported to the Rashad police.
HUDO is very concerned about the situation of civilians in conflict areas and calls upon the Sudanese government to ensure their safety. It also demands that the Popular Defence Forces be dissolved.
A motorcycle resting against a mural in Port Sudan (Najla Salih)
Popular Defence Forces
The Popular Defence Forces are a paramilitary force, established after Al Bashir's coup in 1989 as a dedicated Islamist militia. Under international law it is considered part of Sudan's military because it was created by statute. However, the militia was defined by the Al Bashir regime as a semi-military force of Sudanese citizens.
The Popular Defence Forces had close links with the Al Bashir regime. It also operated as a reserve force for the Sudan Armed Forces. It has been deployed alongside regular army units against various rebel groups.
The militiamen were mainly mobilised from Darfur, to fight against rebels from present South Sudan. It is still operational in Darfur and Southern Kordofan. It also plays a major role in the distribution of weapons to, and military training for, tribal militias.
Currently the lines between Popular Defence Forces and the Border Guards are blurred. Popular Defence Forces militiamen receive training, uniforms, guns, ammunition, and food, but no salaries.
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