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Sudanese army threatens to use force to collect illegal weapons in Darfur

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July 31, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s Defence Minister Awad Ibn Ouf has threatened to use force to collect illegal arms and impose the authority of the state.

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Sudan’s defence minister Awad Ahmed Ibn Ouf (Photo SUNA)

In a press release following his meeting with the parliamentary subcommittee on Defence, Security and Public Order, Ibn Ouf said the “the army is keen to impose the authority of the state and collect [illegal] weapons from the residents even if it requires the use of force”.

He pointed to the crucial role played by the tribal and community leaders in raising awareness of the dangers of illegal weapons.

For his part, the Sudanese army Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Emad al-Din Mustafa Adawi, said the army is paying the necessary attention to all issues affecting national security, stressing it is “mindful of all threats that surround Sudan”.

In April last year, Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir announced the formation of a national body, Darfur Disarmament Higher Committee, tasked with the collection of illegal arms in the region, adding the campaign will be voluntary in a first phase and then become compulsory.

The disarmament of armed groups and tribesmen is seen as an important step that will create a suitable atmosphere for security and stability in the troubled region.

But the failure to achieve a comprehensive peace delayed its implementation. Also, the tribal conflicts over land ownership and pastures are a second obstacle for the weapon collection.

Last week, the defence minister said they plan to restructure the government militias pointing it is an important step before the disarmament campaign.

Also, the governor of South Darfur Adam al-Faki Mohamed on Sunday said his government would start to collect illegal arms from individuals and tribes in early August.

(ST)

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