Home | News    Monday 5 July 2004

Khartoum starts to disarm militias in Darfur

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KHARTOUM, July 05, 2004 (MENA) — Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail said Monday Khartoum has started to disarm the Janjawid militias who are accused of attacking non-Arab tribes in the three western provinces of Darfur.

The Arabic TV news satellite channel Al-Arabiya quoted Khartoum as saying the government has made good progress in this score after it worked out with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan several measures to mitigate things in the restive provinces.

Head of the AU commission, Alpha Omar Konare, has said Sudan must deliver on its promises it had made regarding Darfur to avoid security and humanitarian deterioration. A Khartoum fact-finding commission in Darfur has since its formation held eight consecutive meetings and listened to dozens of Darfuris, civil society representatives and human rights organizations.

Commission Chairman Dafallah Yusuf said the commission is primarily assigned with investigating human rights abuses in Darfur, west of Sudan, and keeping tally of the damage caused there.

Also Interior Minister Abd-al-Rahim Mohamed Hussein said Sunday that a comprehensive plan had been drawn up to implement President Omar al-Bashir’s vision on settling the Darfur crisis. At a press conference held here, Hussein, who is Bashir’s representative in the three western Darfur provinces, said the plan makes sure that all villages in the three provinces come under the control of the state with no village left isolated.

According to the plan, police will secure all towns and villages, including streets and roads, before the inhabitants return to their homes, he had said.

Foodstuffs and medicines will be available for up to three months before the return of the locals, he said.

Hussein, however, had denied that the Sudanese government had any plans at present to disarm the pro-government Janjawid militias in Darfur.

All Arab and non-Arab tribes in Darfur have militias and have arms.

We can only legalize the carrying of arms by incorporating the various militias into the police and army units, he said.

Gradually the number of people who will be carrying arms outside the regular forces will dwindle, he believed.

He said that during his recent meeting with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan he told him that even the US had failed in disarming militias in Iraq.

He added that Annan and US Secretary of State Colin Powell, who both visited Sudan recently, had had a grim picture of the situation in Darfur, but such a picture changed after they visited the refugee camps in northern Darfur.

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