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23 people killed in North Darfur clashes with Musa Hilal fighters: army

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North Darfur governor waves his hand greeting RSF forces that arrived in El Fasher on 11 Oct 2017 (ST photo)
November 29, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - North Darfur clashes between the government’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and fighters of the Border Guards Forces (BGF) of Musa Hilal resulted in the death of 23 people from the two sides, said the Sudanese army on Wednesday.

In an expected development, the RSF stormed Hilal’s headquarters in North Darfur area of Mistariha following an ambush by the BGF for two vehicles of the Sudanese army militia which carries out a forcible weapons collection operation in the state.

In a briefing to the National Assembly about the clashes on Thursday, General division Ali Mohamed Salim the State Minister Defence told the lawmakers that 14 RSF and 9 BGF were killed during the clashes

"The Rapid Support Forces have detained 50 wakening Revolutionary Council (ARC) members," the minister further said, avoiding to designate the BGF fighters with their official name.

However, he indicated that Hilal will be tried by a military court, "because he is the leader of the Border Guards Forces which belong to the Sudanese Armed Forces".

Hilal refused to disarm his fighters or to join the RSF.

The state minister accused the detained tribal leader of making Mistariha a hideout for all the outlaws in Darfur.

He further said that what was done in Mistariha was part of the instructions of the armed forces within the framework of the ongoing campaign to collect weapons.

The minister said they arrested 50 fighters after the assault 30 of them were transported to Khartoum and that 20 others would be in Khartoum later.

The capture of Musa Hilal and his commanders is seen as a new victory for the government forces in Darfur. However, while some observers say it would be of great help to restore stability, others believe it may ignite fierce fighting between the clans of Darfur Arab Rizeigat tribe.

The tribal leader was defiant during the past months and threatened to wage war against the government even in Khartoum. He is accused of seeking to foment a new armed rebellion in Darfur region and reaching out rebel leaders based abroad to work together against the government.

(ST)

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