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Illegal weapons “biggest threat to Darfur’s security”: VP

August 8, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s Vice-President Hassabo Mohamed Abdel-Rahman on Tuesday said illegal weapons and unlicensed vehicles pose the greatest security threat in Darfur.

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Sudanese vice-president Hassabo Mohamed Abdel-Rahman (Photo SUNA)

On Monday, Abdel-Rahman started a visit to Darfur’s five states to discuss ways to implement the government strategy to collect the illegal arms from tribal militias and individuals.

According to the official news agency SUNA, Abdel-Rahman met on Tuesday with the security committee in West Darfur state, saying he has been briefed on the security threats and on top of which are the illegal arms and unlicensed vehicles.

The Vice-President stressed the national committee has developed a strategy to collect the illegal weapons and prevent the use of unlicensed vehicles.

He stressed the government wouldn’t compromise on the security and stability of the residents, pointing to the proliferation of weapons and widespread use of four-wheel-drive vehicles in tribal conflicts.

Abdel-Rahman further said the government would execute the measures to collect illegal arms and prevent unlicensed vehicles according to the national committee directives, praising West Darfur’s readiness to implement the strategy.

He reiterated intentions to restructure the government militias, saying Sudanese army would be directly responsible for the use of weapons in West Darfur.

The Vice-President urged the government officials and traditional leaders to support the disarmament campaign, stressing the need to punish those who resist the process.

He further called on the rebel movements to join the national dialogue, praising the role of the native administration in resolving tribal conflicts.

In April last year, Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir announced the formation of a national body, Darfur Disarmament Higher Committee, tasked with the collection of illegal arms in the region, adding the campaign will be voluntary in a first phase and then become compulsory.

The disarmament of armed groups and tribesmen is seen as an important step that will create a suitable atmosphere for security and stability in the troubled region.

But the failure to achieve a comprehensive peace delayed its implementation. Also, the tribal conflicts over land ownership and pastures are a second obstacle for the weapon collection.

Last week, the defence minister said they plan to restructure the government militias pointing it is an important step before the disarmament campaign.

He said the army is keen to impose the authority of the state and collect illegal weapons from the residents even if it requires the use of force.

Also, the governor of South Darfur Adam al-Faki Mohamed said his government would start to collect illegal arms from individuals and tribes in early August.

(ST)