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Sudan denies border closure with three neighbouring countries

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September 7, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour denied reports about the closure of the border with three neighbouring countries within the framework of weapons collection campaign in the western Sudan region of Darfur.

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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)

Several newspapers reported Wednesday statements attributed to Vice President Hassabo Abdel Rahman saying that the government had decided to close borders with South Sudan, Chad and Libya to prevent attempts to smuggle weapons and four-wheel drive vehicles to these countries after the launch of a disarmament campaign in Darfur.

"Sudan’s borders have not been closed with any neighbouring country," Ghandour said in statements to the official news agency SUNA on Thursday.

"What has been decided is to tighten control of border-crossing points through which can be smuggled weapons, drugs or human beings as well as criminal elements," he further stressed.

The minister further pointed that his country has joint (border monitoring) forces with the Chad "which carries out its functions with high efficiency," and agreements of security cooperation with other neighbouring countries.

The Sudanese authorities called on the civilians in Darfur region to hand over their weapons voluntarily, warning they will conduct a house-to-house search for weapons in the next stage.

The campaign faces resistance from the Arab Mahameed tribe that refuse to merge their Border Guards Forces with the Rapid Support Forces. Also, other tribes point to the government militiamen, saying the disarmament will concentrate arms in the hands of Arab tribes.

(ST)

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