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North Darfur dignitaries seek Musa Hilal’s release

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December 16, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Traditional dignitaries from Musa Hilal home area in North Darfur state, Mistiriyha this week met with senior officials in Khartoum in a bid to secure his release after his arrest last month.

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Musa Hilal BGF leader (ST photo)

Hilal who is also Border Guards Forces (BGF) leader was arrested on 26 November by the government militia Rapid Support Forces (RSF) following an ambush by his fighters on government forces taking part in the forcible weapons collection campaign outside Mistiriyaha.

The arrest of the tribal leader who is accused of rebellion intervened after his refusal to merge the BGF with the RSF or to hand over their arms to the government. Also, there were reports of contacts with the rebel groups in Darfur particularly those who are in troubled neighbouring Libya.

The 27-member delegation already met with the Presidential Assistant, Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid, and National Assembly Speaker Ibrahim Ahmed Omer, and seeks to meet with Vice President Hasbu Abdel Rahman, First Vice President and Prime Minister Bakri Hassan Saleh and President Omer al-Bashir.

The head of the delegation, Hassouna Ahmad Hamid, told the Sudan Tribune that the delegation is made up of a committee formed by Musa Hilal before his arrest, in order to meet the government officials at the state and federal levels to "correct positions and concepts."

"Hilal before the events that ended with his arrest met with the dignitaries of the Native Administrations and agreed with them to respond to the decisions to collect weapons and asked them to receive RSF troops and provide assistance if they start a (forcible) weapons collection operation," Hamid disclosed.

Hilal had resisted the government calls to hand over weapons voluntarily. His aides started to issue statements hostile to the government saying they are ready to reach Khartoum to overthrow the regime of President Omer al-Bashir.

Hamid further sought to disculpate Hilal of charge of rebellion claiming that a third party from outside the area instigated this "sedition" to sabotage the efforts of the local committee to cooperate with the weapons collection operation.

According to the Ministry of Defence, the clashes that took place in Mistiriyaha, the stronghold of Musa Hilal, left 23 dead, 14 of the RSF, and 9 members of the Revolutionary Awakening Council, a political structure led by the tribal leader.

The head of the tribal delegation said they explained to the senior officials in Khartoum the attacks on civilians committed in the area and the number of civilians were killed, adding they requested a meeting with President al-Bashir.

"We want to assure them of our full support to the State (authority) and its policies. We have no objection or disagreement with the orientations of the State, which we stood with and defended a lot, and until today we stand with and we will continue because are not rebels and we refuse to be described like that," he emphasized.

Sudanese officials accuse Hilal of transforming Mistiriyaha to a hideout of rebel groups and outlaws. They further pointed to the participation of one of his aides in a meeting of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front led by Minni Minnawi last October.

(ST)

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