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Weapons collection in South Darfur remains unsuccessful in its second day

August 20, 2017 (NYALA) - An official source in the South Darfur State Security Commission Sunday admitted that few people have positively responded to the government calls to hand over their arms since the launch of the voluntary weapons collection campaign.

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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)

The Sudanese authorities have been working since several months to prepare a campaign to collect weapons and ammunitions in a bid to reduce the arsenal of arms in the hands of civilians and restore peace and security in the region.

However, the government is facing many challenges, because of the tribal militias that refuse to hand over their weapons due to the existing inter-communal disputes over water and pasture land and the long-established tribal tradition of cattle rustling.

On Saturday, South Darfur government launched a campaign in Nyala to collect weapons of the Popular Defence Forces (PDF) and broadcasted calls for the civilians to hand over their weapons voluntarily.

"The number of weapons collected from the civilians does not exceed 179 pieces while the total number of weapons registered by the Weapons Inventory and Legalization Committee has reached 17,000 pieces," a state official told Sudan Tribune on Sunday.

The official who declined to be identified added that most of the weapons voluntarily handed over are AK47 known as Kalashnikov’s automatic rifles and pistols.

He further stressed that the tribes do cooperate with the campaign because the process does not include all the tribes, adding that tensions remain high between them and the violence may erupt at any moment.

According to the source, the government in the past gave nearly 200,000 guns to some tribes to fight the rebel groups.

The government has been working since last year for the launch of this campaign of weapons collection. The authorities also launched an awareness campaign but the resumption of tribal clashes in East Darfur between Ma’alia and Rizeigat pushed the government to accelerate the process.

The campaign is also facing another challenge posed by the tribal chief and former Janjaweed leader who reject the campaign and threatens to fight the army and its militia of the Rapid Support Forces involved in the disarmament process.

Hilal who is accused recently of providing fighters for the head of the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), runs also a gold mining industry in North Darfur and uses his militia to protect his business.

Khartoum warned it will use the force if needed to collect weapons during the second phase of the operation.

(ST)