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Bashir says security in Darfur remains top election priority

March 4, 2015 (EL-GENEINA) – Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir has pledged to achieve security in Darfur, and said it is the highest priority in his electoral program.

Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir waves to the crowd during a rally with Sufi supporters in Khartoum district’s Hajj Yusuf on 27 December 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

Bashir, who was speaking Wednesday in an electoral meeting in the capital of West Darfur state, El-Geneina ahead of the general elections next April, said West Darfur set a good example for peaceful coexistence and social harmony, pointing the state is free of rebellion and tribal conflicts.

He stressed that his government is committed to undertake development projects in West Darfur, and vowed to complete the road linking the state’s localities and securing the borders.

The Sudanese president underscored that provision of security is the top priority for his government, saying one day will come and people could travel between El-Geneina and Kordofan and "they do not dread anything except Allah (God)".

Four states in Darfur suffer from lack of security and disorder due to activities carried out by armed bandits who terrorize citizens and loot their cars and property.

Bashir added that IDPs and refugees should return to their villages following restoration of security, saying they don’t want to see citizens living on relief and assistance.

Darfur has been a flashpoint for lawlessness and violence since rebel movements took up arms against the Khartoum government in 2003.

The United Nations estimates as many as 300,000 people have been killed and almost three million people have been displaced during the ongoing conflict.

Bashir added that his government seeks to improve basic services including health care, education and electricity, and pledged to build a railway linking between the capital of South Darfur state, Nyala and West Darfur.

He praised peace partners naming the head of the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA), Tijani al-Sissi, and West Darfur governor, Hyder Galu Koma, besides the Chadian president, Idriss Deby and the government of Qatar.

Bashir said the experience of the joint Sudanese-Chadian border patrol forces became a model to be followed by other states, vowing not to disappoint those who nominated and supported his campaign for presidency.

Saad Bahar al-Din, chief of Massalit tribe, for his part, called on Bashir to ignore calls by the opposition to leave office, adding we say to the president “stay as long as you want”.

Last month the opposition alliance National Consensus Forces (NCF) launched a campaign for polls boycott under the slogan Erhal (Leave).

The leading figure at the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and minister of commerce, Osman Omer al-Shareef, described Bashir as a “knight”, saying the chairman of the DUP, Mohamed Osman al-Merghani, authorised him to announce support for Bashir’s candidacy for the presidency.