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Militia-linked Darfur gold mines handed over to Sudan’s government: statement

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Militiamen pose in Jebel Amer area (file photo Alhosh.com)March 19, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - The militia-linked Aljuneid Company officially handed over the gold mines in North Darfur to the Sudanese government, said the Ministry of Energy and Mining on Wednesday.

Aljuneid is seen as the investment arm of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) under the command of Mohamed Hamdan Daglo ’Hemetti’ who is also a leading member of the Transitional Sovereign Council.

Since last December it was reported that the company, which is accused of smuggling gold to the UAE markets and keeping its income outside Sudan, had started arrangements to hand over gold mining areas in Jebel Amer to the transitional government but nothing was announced officially.

In a short statement on Wednesday, the mining ministry announced that the Jebel Amer gold mines have become the property of the Sudanese government represented by the Ministry of Energy and Mining.

"Aljuneid also waived its right for the remainder of the license granted to the company in the area for the government of Sudan represented by the Ministry of Energy and Mining," further said the statement.

The Jabal Amer area is estimated at 26km where there are four large gold mines. Its daily production of gold is estimated between eight to ten kilograms.

In November 2019, Reuters reported that Aljuneid during a four-week period exported to Dubai some $30 million of gold bars around a ton in weight.

The Minister of Energy and Mining, Adel Ali Ibrahim, directed the General Authority for Geological Research to form a committee to take control of the mines of Jabal Amer, North Darfur state.

Last December Global Witness group welcomed Hemetti’s decision to hand over the gold mines back to the transitional government.

"This move to hand a large chunk of the gold market back to Sudan’s government is a positive step in the right direction," said the rights group as the brutal RSF militiamen are involved in war crimes in Darfur and accused of taking part in a bloody raid on the pro-democracy sit-in on 3 June 2019.

Earlier this month, US Congress members lodged a bill to support the democratic transition in Sudan.

The bill called to promote economic reform, and to combat corruption and illicit economic activity, including that which involves the Sudanese security and intelligence services.

Also, the bipartisan bill backed Sudan’s removal from the terror list but instruct the U.S. administration to prevent Sudan’s debt relief before the government control of the finances and assets of the Sudanese security and intelligence services.

"Also, the government has to establish that the security and intelligence services are no longer involved in the "illicit trade in mineral resources, including petroleum and gold," provides the bill.

Aljuneid was accused of exporting its gold production without the required authorizations from the central bank. The company allegedly served to buy the weapons of the RSF and funding the activities.

The RSF, which includes non-Sudanese militiamen, is known for paying significant salaries to its fighters.

(ST)

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