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Darfur militias continue to collect illegal road tolls

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April 8, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Unknown gunmen have wounded a passenger on Thursday after a bus driver on a highway linking two major cities in Darfur refused to pay them illegal tolls.

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Fighters from the Rapid Support Forces sit in an armed vehicle in Nyala, south Darfur, displaying weapons they say they captured from the Justice and Equality Movement rebels on May 13, 2015 (AFP Photo/Ashraf Shazly)

During his recent visit to the five states of Darfur, President Omer al-Bashir warned armed militias against collecting illegal tolls and levies along the highways linking the various towns in the region.

He also instructed the concerned bodies to impose the authority of the state, saying his government would soon launch a plan to disarm tribal militias and restricts the use of weapons to the regular forces.

Reliable sources told Sudan Tribune that a passenger was severely wounded by gunmen on the road linking North Darfur state capital El-Fasher to South Darfur state capital Nyala after the bus driver refused to tolls imposed by the group.

The armed groups refuse to implement the instructions of President Bashir and threaten to carry out comprehensive armed lootings. They claim that they collect those roads tolls in exchange for protecting the highways.

A bus driver told Sudan Tribune Friday that armed groups have set up more than 73 tents along the road linking El-Fasher to Nyala to collect road tolls at gunpoint.

He stressed that several people were killed because they refused to obey orders of the armed groups, noting that they impose 370 Sudanese pounds (SDG) on each bus.

The same driver said that more than 30 buses and trucks drive on the road daily which means that the gunmen collect more than 10,000 pounds every day.

He pointed that those militias continued to impose illegal road tolls for more than 10 years, saying they are allied with the government.

(ST)

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