March 1, 2009 (LONDON) — The rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) said today that the Sudanese para-military Popular Defence Force (PDF) plans to spread chaos in the capital and attack families of alleged supporters of the International Criminal Court on Wednesday, March 4.
- Sudanese PDF members march during a ceremony for the 18th anniversary of the national Popular Defence Forces in Madani Nov 17, 2007 (AFP)
JEM said it received reliable information about plans by the PDF to target the families of the ICC supporters in reprisal for the expected arrest warrant by the judges of the world court against the Sudanese President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir.
The judges of the ICC pre-trial chamber announced last week they would announce their decision over an application for an arrest warrant filled by the chief prosecutor who accused Al-Bashir of genocide, crimes against the humanity and war crimes on next Wednesday.
According to the rebel movement, the decision was taken during a meeting of the PDF held this weekend in Khartoum. "Mr. Kamal Abdel Lateef, State Minister of the Ministerial Council headed and addressed the gathering."
"The Minister vowed to repeat what he called ‘Black Monday’ in reference to the carnage that followed the tragic death of Dr. Garang in 2005. Members of PDF are instructed to target families of supporters of ICC in revenge over indictment of the Al-Bashir."
The rebel statement was purportedly issued by the “Intelligence and Information Unit, JEM” from the “Liberated Zone, Darfur.”
Sudan is in a state of high alert awaiting a decision by the ICC judges. However, the government pledged to protect UN missions and agencies staff as well as diplomatic missions in the country, but warned against any move by incontrollable elements.
Also the head of security service Salah Abdallah Gosh last week warned "Our message to those who stand behind the ICC is that we were Islamic extremists then became moderate and civilized believing in peace and life for everyone," before adding "However we will revert back to how we were if necessary. There is nothing any easier than that."
PDF forces were officially established by decree in November 1989, only months after Al-Bashir came to power in a bloodless coup. Tied to the ruling National Islamic Front (NIF), the militias recruited extensively from Khartoum universities and spread military and civilian networks across rural Sudan, replacing, co-opting or absorbing traditional tribal structures.
The forces were under the control of NIF ideologue Hassan Al-Turabi until January 2000 when he lost his authority over the jihad due to a split within the regime.