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Sudan’s armed groups denounce arrest of ex-Janjaweed leader

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November 28, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - A number of Sudan’s rebel movements have condemned the arrest of the Darfur tribal leader Musa Hilal and called for his release along with all detainees and war prisoners.

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Fighters in a military unit called the Border Guards Forces (BGF), also believed to form part of the Janjaweed militia, walk through a weekly animal market in Mistiria in North Darfur, Sudan (AP/file photo)

Hilal and two of his sons were arrested on Sunday following heavy clashes between the government militia Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and his Border Guards Forces (BGF) at his hometown, Mistiriyha, North Darfur state.

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune Tuesday, deputy chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North led by Malik Agar (SPLM/N Agar), Yassir Arman called to launch a campaign demanding treatment of prisoners in accordance with international humanitarian law.

“This battle should unite us all; we must defend the right of Brigadier-General Omer Fadl Dar Shain and his colleagues, besides the right of Nimir Mohamed Abdel-Rahman, Ahmed Hussein Mustafa (aka Adarob) and Mustafa Tambor and their comrades as well as Musa Hilal and his sons and Haroun Medikheir and Savana and the leaders of the Awakening Council,” read the statement.

Arman also denounced the recent arrest campaign against the opposition activists, expressing his movement’s support for the protests of the residents of eastern Khartoum neighbourhood of Al-Geraif against land confiscations.

For his part, the leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-MM) Minni Minnawi has called for the immediate release of Hilal and his sons to avoid any potential tribal polarization.

He described the government disarmament campaign in Darfur as a “play”, saying it triggered a new cycle of violence and human rights violation in the region which has already been plagued by conspiracies, crimes and intrigues.

In a statement seen by Sudan Tribune Tuesday, Minnawi held the government responsible for the burning of villages and displacement and killing of children and women in Mistiriyha, describing the RSF actions as a crime against humanity.

He demanded the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) to move quickly to investigate the atrocities committed in Mistiriyha incident.

“We call to hold an independent investigation and allow the independent human rights expert to meet those in government custody to ascertain their condition” read the statement.

Last August, the Sudanese authorities launched a six-month disarmament campaign to eliminate illegal weapons in the conflict-affected areas in Sudan, particularly in Darfur region.

The higher committee for the collection of weapons and unregulated vehicles started the forcible phase of the campaign in all the states of Sudan on 15 October.

However, Hilal refused to cooperate with the disarmament campaign and also rejected a government demand to merge his BGF militia with the RSF.

The tribal leader announced his readiness to confront government forces militarily if they attempt to disarm his militia forcibly.

(ST)

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