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North Darfur governor acknowledges limited outcome of disarmament campaign

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Photo taken on Sept. 23, 2017 shows weapons voluntarily surrendered by residents in South Darfur State, Sudan. (Xinhua Photo)

December 24, 2017 (EL-FASHER) - The government of North Darfur admitted that the disarmament campaign has achieved limited success pointing to the large proliferation of illegal weapons in the state.

In an interview with the local radio, North Darfur governor Abdel-Wahid Youssef said: “very limited amounts of [illegal] weapons have been collected during the previous period compared to the actual quantities of arms in the state”.

He didn’t point to the exact numbers of illegal weapons that have been collected so far.

However, previous official reports said 8710 arms have been collected in North Darfur.

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.

The disarmament of armed groups and tribesmen is seen as an important step that will create a suitable atmosphere for security and stability in Sudan’s western regions.

MISTARIHA CLASHES

Meanwhile, Youssef said his government is keen not to repeat the deadly clashes which led to the capture of the tribal leader Musa Hilal.

In an expected development, the Rapid Support Forces (SRF) last month stormed Hilal’s headquarters in North Darfur area of Mistariha following an ambush by his Border Guards Forces (BGF) for two vehicles of the Sudanese army militia.

The bloody clashes claimed 23 lives and led to the capturing of the tribal leader along with his three sons and a number of his aides.

Youssef denied reports that children and women have been tortured and killed in the wake of Mistariha clashes, saying the RSF has adhered to the highest standards of professionalism.

He pointed out that 172 people were arrested after the clashes Mistariha in accordance with the presidential emergency orders.

“They would be tried according to those orders soon. And we underline the [security] organs would continue the disarmament campaign across the state and we wouldn’t back down on it no matter what the cost” he said

According to the governor, the 172 detainees are currently being held at Shala Prison in North Darfur capital, El-Faher under tight security measures.

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 to rebel leaders based abroad to work together against the government.

(ST)

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