Home | News    Sunday 16 October 2016

Pro-gov’t militias impose illegal toll charges in Darfur


October 15, 2016 (NYALA/ELFASHER) - Government-aligned militias in North and South Darfur states have continued to collect road tolls from passenger buses and commercial trucks at gunpoint in clear defiance of the presidential directives to stop this practice, said sources.

JPEG - 21.9 kb
Fighters from the Rapid Support Forces sit in an armed vehicle in Nyala, south Darfur, displaying weapons they say they captured from the Justice and Equality Movement rebels on May 13, 2015 (AFP Photo/Ashraf Shazly)

During his visit to the five states of Darfur last April, President Omer al-Bashir warned militias against collecting illegal tolls and levies along the highways linking the various towns in the region.

He also instructed the concerned bodies to impose the authority of the state, saying his government would soon launch a plan to disarm tribal militias and restricts the use of weapons to the regular forces.

A reliable source told Sudan Tribune on the condition of anonymity that illegal toll collection points, widely known as “gateways”, have appeared for the first time in 2009 on the highway linking South Darfur’s capital, Nyala to the town of Kass, 86 km west of Nyala, saying the militias set up 16 tents along the road to collect tolls.

He said these militias have fought alongside the government army against the rebel groups in Darfur, pointing the government rewarded these militias by allowing them to collect limited road tolls however the practice has expanded dramatically.

The same source stressed that unnamed local and state actors have vested interest in the continued existence of this phenomenon, pointing to the weakness and inability of both North and South Darfur governments to remove these “gateways”.

He added the federal government also doesn’t want to take decisive measures that could adversely impact its alliance with these militias particularly as the conflict in Darfur was not completely settled.

Salih Mohamed Guma’a, a passenger buses owner in Nyala, told Sudan Tribune the militias set up more than 37 “gateways” to collect road tolls along the highway between Nyala and North Darfur capital, El-Fasher under the pretext that they are protect passengers against armed robbery.

He pointed out the militias collect more than 16,000 pounds (SDG) from passenger buses and commercial trucks daily, saying these levies put additional burden on the residents because it raise the price of commodities and bus tickets.

Guma’a further said the passenger buses union in South Darfur has repeatedly appealed to the government to remove those “gateways” but to no avail.

A bus driver named Hamid Sulieman said that 27 passengers were killed and injured during altercations with the gateways’ militias, pointing they are waiting for the government to deal with this chaotic situation decisively.

“The gunmen usually threaten to kill drivers if they try to surpass the [gateway] tent without paying the prescribed levies … they have linked the safety and lives of passengers to a forcibly imposed sums,” he said.

In 2009, the former South Darfur governor Ali Mahomud issued a decision to remove all illegal gateways by force, however, several armed robbery incidents occurred just one week after they were removed forcing the government to retreat.

The imposition of illegal road tolls along the highway between El-Fasher and Kutum in North Darfur has led to a sharp rise in the ticket price from 50 to 150 pounds (SDG).

A local administration leader named Al-Tahir Ismail told Sudan Tribune that a number of the militias use their military vehicles to transport passengers and goods after passenger buses and commercial trucks decided to stop the business.

“Militias who set up random tents to [collect illegal tolls] claim they are affiliated with the border guards forces and also other unidentified gunmen have set up gateways to collect levies,” he said.

Last September, the then North Darfur deputy governor Adam al-Nahla issued a decision to remove all illegal gateways and stop collection of road tolls, saying it adversely impact the authority of the state and harms social ties among the residents.

He stressed that these illegal levies are not being deposited into the state’s treasury.

For his part, member of the executive office of North Darfur’s passenger buses trade union Mohamed Ahmed, said the militias imposed a 300 to 400 pounds toll on every single commercial truck travelling between El-Fasher and Kutum.

He stressed that militias affiliated with the government have again set up the gateways after they were removed for almost one year, pointing that four-wheel drive vehicles belonging to these militias have substituted passenger buses and commercial trucks which stopped working due to heavy tolls imposed on them.

The Darfur conflict started in February 2003 when two non-Arab African rebel groups took up arms for more power and resources.

The government responded with a counterinsurgency campaign in which a mostly Arab militia known as the Janjaweed has committed wide-scale abuses against people it says are allied to the rebels.

UN agencies estimate that over 300,000 people were killed in the conflict, and over 2.5 million were displaced.


Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

Comment on this article

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.

Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis

The 62nd anniversary of Torit popular uprising 2017-08-17 00:23:12 By Arop Madut Arop As the people of the Republic of South Sudan mark and celebrate the 62nd anniversary of August 18th, 1955 Torit uprising, it would extremely be important to recall the events (...)

What is the value of water? 2017-08-14 21:28:25 By Innocent Ntabana When you and I breathe in fresh air, the amount I inhale affects you in no way. This is because air is abundant and so there’s plenty of it to go around. We actually take it (...)

The paradox of weapons collection in Darfur 2017-08-13 09:13:14 By Mahmoud A. Suleiman As a Sudanese people who long for stability, peace and security, we have no objection to the decision to collect unlicensed weapons throughout Sudan, but our reservation (...)


Latest Press Releases

New group formed to gather Nuer in United States 2017-08-17 14:15:50 DECLARATION FOR THE FORMATION OF NUD TO BRING TOGETHER ALL NUER IN THE U.S.A Press Statement The Nuer Union For Development (NUD) The United State of America The State of Nebraska August 15, (...)

A prominent Sudan Women and Civil rights activist passed away 2017-08-14 21:09:47 The Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA) Khartoum, Sudan-August 14 2017 In the early hours of Saturday 12th August Fatima Ahmed Ibrahim, a renowned Sudanese leader of the (...)

HRW denounces "collective punishment" in South Sudan’s Wau 2017-04-15 07:06:48 Human Right Watch South Sudan: New Spate of Ethnic Killings Urgent Need for Justice; UN Should Increase Patrols in Wau (Nairobi, April 14, 2017) – Government soldiers and allied militias (...)


Copyright © 2003-2017 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.