Sudan: Cooperation of Civilians and Security Forces Crucial in Darfur - Hamdok

Women in El Fasher, North Darfur.

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok says adequate cooperation between civilians and security forces will help plug the gap left by departing UNAMID troops.

Khartoum was given the responsibility of taking over security control of the once restive south-western region of Darfur following the end of mandate of the special UN-African Union hybrid mission last December.

But the Sudanese Premier said on Monday that the gap will only be filled if civilians and security forces work on the same side.

Hamdok was speaking to police chiefs on Monday generally on Sudan's rehabilitation programme for Darfur and other parts of the country ravaged by conflict, which, according to him, will be split into five priorities including reviving the economy, addressing humanitarian distress as well as addressing security challenges.

He urged the police to help control markets and said that the second priority of his government will be to bring lasting peace.

Darfur had been a battleground between government forces or militia allied to Omar al-Bashir and rebels. Some of Bashir's crackdown on the rebels earned him an indictment at the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

But since Bashir was ousted by the military two years ago, Hamdok's government has tried to reconcile the warring troops.

Last year, he reached a peace deal with one of the factions of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North, led by Abdul Aziz Al-Hilu and the Sudan Liberation Movement under Abdel Wahid Nur. Both groups had opposed the government of al-Bashir and fought it in various clashes. The signing of the deal saw the UN Security Council end the mandate of UNAMID, after 13 years in operation.

Hamdok suggested that he is building better cooperation with neighbouring Chad to ensure any new rebel eruptions do not benefit from hiding across the border.

He said a new Sudan "represents a force for peace and civilised interaction with its neighbours and all countries.

Hamdok, who named his new cabinet over a week ago, said security in Darfur will help the country achieve lasting peace and stability, promising to implemented targeted reforms in the security sector.

The country's immediate targets will be to sustain a transition he began in August 2019. It includes gradual accommodation of rebels into the government as well as preparations for an election.

That means Sudan has to work on key transition bodies including a legislative assembly that will be crucial to passing laws necessary to keep the momentum. With his government running as a coalition between the military and civilians, Hamdok admitted a consistent partnership between the two will be important.

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