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Darfur’s border guards militia refuses to hand over weapons

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Border Guards Forces hold their weapons during a gathering in North Darfur area of Misteriya on 13 Aug 2017 (ST Photo)
August 13, 2017 (EL-FASHER) - The Border Guards Force (BGF) in Darfur’s five states has refused to be merged with the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) saying it wouldn’t cooperate with a government plan aiming to collect illegal weapons.

Last month, Defence Minister Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf announced a plan to reorganise the “forces supportive” of the Sudanese army. The step means to implement the recommendations of the national dialogue providing to integrate all the militias to the Sudanese army.

Also, Vice-President Hasabo Mohamed Abdel-Rahman and head of Darfur Disarmament Higher Committee on Friday winded up a five-day visit to Darfur’s states to implement a government plan to collect illegal arms from individuals and tribes.

Haroun Medeikhir, the spokesperson for the Sudanese Revolutionary Awakening Council (SRAC) in Darfur headed by the tribal leader, Musa Hilal, told Sudan Tribune Sunday that traditional leaders and BGF commanders in Darfur’s five states have met Saturday in Misteriya area in North Darfur to discuss the two issues.

He said the meeting, which was chaired by Hilal, has categorically rejected the merger with the RSF, pointing it also refused to hand over arms unless the collection process is carried out through a committee agreed upon by everyone.

Medeikhir added the proposed committee should include the interior and defence ministries besides the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), saying the committee must then sit with the traditional leaders to discuss the implementation of the plan.

“Those who have been delegated to collect the weapons are unqualified [to carry out the task],” he said.

The SRAC spokesperson said the meeting called for holding reconciliations in Darfur, demanding the release of the detained leaders from Rizeigat and Ma’alia tribes.
He described the ongoing arrest campaign in the region as an attempt to “dismantle the Arab tribes”, calling for unity of the latter to face these challenges.

Medeikhir stressed the BGF is on high alert in anticipation of any emergencies, denouncing the intimidating rhetoric used by the Vice-President during his visit to Darfur.

The BGF consists mainly of the notorious Janjaweed militia members that fought Darfur rebels along with Sudanese army. It was drawn mainly from the nomadic Arab tribes of the area and blamed for much of the killing in the Darfur conflict.

Later, the government also formed the SRF from the same Arab tribes. However, the Sudanese parliament last January passed the RSF Act which integrates the militia in the Sudanese army and provides that its commander is appointed by the President of the Republic.

Hilal has been hostile to the RSF leader, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, (aka Hametti) who was one of his lieutenants and tribal followers before to be the appointed commander of the RSF.

He fears that Hametti contests his tribal leadership as leader of Al-Mahameed tribe, a branch of the Rizeigat ethnic group.

The border guards include some 3,000 militiamen from Al-Mahameed.

(ST)

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