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Sudan’s President forms body to mobilise “Jihadists”

March 26, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The President of Sudan, Omer Hassan Al-Bashir, on Monday decreed the establishment of a committee to undertake “mobilization of Jihadists”, appointing first Vice-President Ali Osman Mohammad Taha as its chairman.

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Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir, left, Defense Minister Abdel Rahim Mohammed Hussein and Nafie Ali Nafie at a Khartoum rally in May (Abd Raouf - Associated Press)

Earlier this month, Al-Bashir ordered full mobilisation of the paramilitary Popular Defense Forces (PDF) in the wake of increased tension with neighbouring South Sudan which Khartoum accuses of supporting rebels fighting the Sudanese government along the poorly defined borders between the two countries.

Sudan’s News Agency (SUNA) published Al-Bashir’s decree, which stated that the committee is tasked with making the necessary arrangements for the “grand mobilization campaign” and preparations of Jihadists camps as well as any other functions needed to achieve its purpose.

The committee’s membership is made up of 23 top state officials including first Vice-President Taha as chairman, Defense Minister Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussien as Vice-Chairman. The mobilisation committee will also include Minister of Interior, Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamed; Minister of Finance, Ali Mahmoud Abdul-Rasool; Director-General of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), Mohamed Atta; and the General Coordinator of the Popular Forces, Abdullah Al-Jaili.

The decree instructed the ministry of finance to provide funding for the committee which will be seated in the capital Khartoum but allowed to set up branch offices elsewhere.

The decree comes on the same day in which Sudan’s army clashed with South Sudan’s army in the oil-rich town of Heglig, in the most serious confrontation since South Sudan split from Sudan in July last year.