January 5, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese Interior Minister, Ismat Abdel Rahman Zein al-Abdin, Wednesday has called for the intervention of the army to end the control of armed militias over gold mines in North Darfur State.
- Interior minister Ismat Abdel-Rahman (SUNA Photo)
Responding to a questions by a Sudanese lawmaker about presence of foreigners at the gold mines in North Darfur State, the minister admitted that the Jebel Amir gold mines are under the control of "foreign elements, and some dual national armed tribal groups in the region".
Fighting between two government allied Arab militias of Bani Hussein and Abbala Rizeigat tribes during the year 2013 resulted in the death of over 800 people and displaced 105,000 others. Since, the Abbala militiamen control the area.
In their report of July 2016, UN experts said Abbala militiamen under the control of Musa Hilal control at least 400 mines. They said the group earns some $54 million annually from levies on prospectors and support businesses, direct prospecting and the illegal exporting of mined gold.
"They are more than 3,000 heavily armed foreigners riding four-wheel-drive vehicles in the gold rich area in addition to other foreigners the interior ministry was not able to count because of the ’overlapping tribal ties in Jebel Amir," said the minister.
"The Ministry is in need of heavy machinery and tanks to break up the heavily armed groups." further said Ismat who is a former Chief of Staff of the Sudan Armed Forces.
He disclosed that an inter-ministerial meeting will be held next week including officials from the North Darfur State; ministry of minerals, interior ministry and other services to discuss the needed solutions and to mull over a plan on how to intervene in the area.
The minister stressed that the alone police would not be able to face what he called "the enormous quantity of foreigners", pointing they had failed to control the area in the past because of the huge military machinery of foreign miners and people with dual nationality.
"We cannot confront this colossal quantity of vehicles, and we need to advanced weapons," he said.