February 3, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) has condemned the government for the acts of killing and terrorizing of innocent civilians committed by the Arab Janjaweed militias in Darfur and most recently in North Kordofan.
- Picture taken in April 2004 shows the village of Terbeba after being burnt by the pro-Sudanese government ’Janjaweed’ militias in the western Darfur region of Sudan (AFP)
The Janjaweed Arab militias were mobilized by the Sudanese government to quell the insurgency that broke out in Sudan’s western region of Darfur in 2003.
That counter-insurgency campaign, which mainly targeted African ethnic groups on account of their affiliation to the insurgents, has led to the death of approximately 300,000 people and the displacement of more than 2.7 million, according to United Nation figures.
On Sunday, massive protests erupted in the capital city of Sudan’s North Kordofan state El-Obeid following the killing of a merchant allegedly at the hands of the pro-government Arab Janjaweed militias.
The governor of North Kordofan state, Ahmed Haroun, announced his government made the necessary arrangements to drive the Janjaweed militias away from the state within 72 hours.
Haroun himself is one of the Sudanese officials wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes he allegedly masterminded in Darfur during his time as state minister for interior.
The PCP called upon the government to immediately demobilize those militias, claiming that 4 million pieces of weapons are out of the government control and that 5,500 Janjaweed fighters were trained by the government at a special camp in Khartoum.
It further warned against repeating Darfur’s experience in Kordofan.
The PCP secretary of organizational communication, al-Amin Abdel-Razig, pointed in a press conference that heavy-weight leading figures from the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) have paid secret visits to the PCP leader, Hassan al-Turabi, in his house following the latter’s attendance of the recent speech delivered by president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir.
Abdel-Razig affirmed that his party would attract millions of Sudanese people to join its ranks if public freedoms were allowed, pointing that the PCP expressed its goodwill towards the government by attending the president’s address and waiting for it to do the same by allowing freedoms and creating climate conducive for holding national dialogue.
The long awaited speech by Bashir last week that was expected to unveil a major reform proposal, created a wave of disappointment among those who followed it including opposition leaders who were present.
Bashir announced a 4-point plan for reform "to stop the war and bring peace, free political society, fight against poverty and revitalize national identity", calling for political forces to engage in dialogue to agree on the implementation items though he did not specify practical steps to do so.
A leading figure at the PCP claimed in statements to Sudan Tribune that an influential group within the NCP amended Bashir’s speech at the last minute leading to a widespread frustration among political forces and the Sudanese people.
Abdel-Razig underscored the need for establishing a full transitional government, and said the PCP is serious about engaging in dialogue if the NCP was committed to it, threatening to renew their call for overthrowing the regime in coordination with the opposition alliance.
He said the transitional government would undertake several tasks including allowing public freedoms, achieving democratic transformation, stopping wars in Darfur, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan, developing foreign relations as well as drafting a new elections law that guarantees a free and fair elections under regional and international observation.
The PCP official further called upon the government to declare a ceasefire across the country besides inviting all political forces to a genuine dialogue, emphasizing the economy would meltdown within two months.
He said his party contacted the director of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), Mohamed Atta al-Moula, regarding conditions stipulated for the release of the PCP mouthpiece Ray Al-Sha’b, emphasizing that they rejected NISS’s conditions altogether.
Last week, NISS lifted a two-year ban on the PCP’s mouthpiece Ray Al-Shaab, but it stipulated 19 conditions for resuming its publication which were swiftly rejected by the editorial board and the party.