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Sudan to deploy joint force in Darfur

RSF force in a training camp outside Khartoum before to be deployed in Darfur on 19 January 2021 (ST photo)April 10, 2021 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan decided to deploy a joint force including former rebels in the Darfur region to maintain security and protect civilians.

The decision came in the wake of the recent deadly tribal violence in El Geneina, West Darfur state, which killed 137 people and injured 221 others.

The Security and Defence Council (SDC) held a meeting on Saturday to discuss the security situation in the country and recent developments in West and East Darfur.

Speaking after the meeting, the Minister of Defence Lt-Gen Yassin Ibrahim said that the Security and Defence Council decided to "form a joint force made up of regular forces and all parties signatory of the peace agreement, a flexible force capable of rapid intervention to maintain security in Darfur."

Ibrahim who is the SDC’s official spokesman further said the meeting decided, to expedite the preparation of the joint force and to deploy it in the potential conflict areas in Darfur.

Also, the minister announced the reactivation of the weapons collection campaign and taking "the necessary measures to prevent the manifestations of armed presence in the cities".

He added that the decisions include enhancing border control to prevent the flow of weapons.

Reports from El-Geneina say that the Arab tribes brought weapons from Chad.

Sudanese army deployed 6000 troops in the Darfur region but the governor of West Darfur State complained that the Interior and defence ministries were not responsive to his demands.

The formation of the joint force is part of the peace agreement but there was a delay due to the lack of financial resources for the establishment of cantonment sites for the combatants of the armed groups.

Furthermore, he stressed the government’s determination to "bring the perpetrators of the attacks to justice adding they would be tried immediately after investigation.

On Friday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has called on the Sudanese government to investigate the tribal attacks in West Darfur and to hold accountable the perpetrators.

"Independent, impartial and thorough investigations into these acts of violence must be initiated without delay. Effective accountability processes must be established to pave the way for genuine reconciliation and lasting peace," reads the statement.