The Second Vice-President of Sudan Hasabo Mohamed Abderhaman met with the five Governors of Darfur and the so-called Higher Commission for the Collection of Unlicensed Firearms and Vehicles on August 7, 2017 in El Fashir, the capital city of North Darfur. He stated that he was carrying out a campaign of disarmament to establish government authority in the region. The Vice-President also visited four other Darfur regions - Central, Southern, Western and Eastern Darfur pushing his campaign of disarming civilians. Hasabo said on Radio Dabanga, “As of today, we will not allow arms to be in the hands of civilians under any pretext, other than the regular forces”., He gave firm instructions to security forces comprised of Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Border Guards, Popular Defense Forces, Desert Shield (Janjaweed) and Sudanese Armed Forces to disarm Darfur civilians.
This campaign contradicts the fact that Darfurian civilians have no arms that the Vice-President’s Security forces could disarm. Abderhaman should ask himself why he falsely accuses innocent and helpless Darfur civilians of possessing arms. How long do President Bashir and his regime think they can continually deceive the public and the international community?
Since 1986, the Sudan regime has launched similar campaigns against the people of Darfur. The results speak for themselves. There has been no establishment of peace under the regime’s authority in the region. Instead, disarming Darfur civilians has been the cover for the Bashir regime to harass villagers and arrest activists. It purposefully sent messages to confuse the public and international community that the government is making efforts to bring peace and stability. In reality the regime is organizing and arming more Arab tribal militias. They began arming Arab tribes in 1986. Subsequently these Arab tribal militias continue to attack indigenous peoples’ villages. The entire Arab population of Darfur, including those the regime brought from Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Central African Republic (CAR) and elsewhere are considered part of the regime’s security apparatus. They are the only ones authorized by the regime to carry weapons and own vehicles that the Vice-President talked about during the Radio Dabanga broadcast. Someone should ask the Vice-President how he can disarm Darfur civilians of arms and vehicles that they do not possess.
Approximately 5 million of the estimated 12 million Darfurian population are internally displaced. The majority of them live in more than 65 internally displaced person camps; others have migrated to major cities inside Sudan or have become residents in UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) camps in neighboring countries. In Chad in 2017 there are about 317,219 Darfurians living in UNHCR camps. About the same number live in Chad outside UN camps. 2,000 Darfurians live in Bambari and Sam UN refugee camps in CAR. An equivalent number live in Kenyan UNHCR camps. These are not the only countries where Darfurian people have sought refuge. There are about 600 living in UN refugee camps in Ghana. That leaves out ex-patriate Darfurians living in South Sudan, Egypt, Libya, Europe, United States and Canada. Those who remain inside Darfur are targeted in raids by the RSF/Janjaweed militia that continually carry out genocidal ethnic cleansing actions killing, displacing, seizing properties and occupying land of this unarmed population.
The Bashir regime secretly armed Arab tribes they brought into Darfur who have been integrated into RSF/Janjaweed militia units. They conduct a veritable “scorched earth ethnic cleansing campaign” burning villages, scattering and killing residents and stealing animals. The Arab tribal Janjaweed militia’s threatening behavior causes residents to consider defending their villages. At this stage very few people are aware of the regime’s strategy using Arabs for ethnic cleansing in Darfur. When the indigenous Darfurian people discovered the conspiracy and complained to the government about arming the Arabs, the authorities denied it saying that they gave Arabs weapons under the pretext of defending their animals from thieves in the remote areas where they usually go looking for pastures. However, the government failed to convince the villagers.
Display of weapons collected in fake Sudan 'disarmament' campaign in Darfur
To cover up these crimes, they began distributing a few weapons to some village heads to defend their villages. That was immediately followed by a duplicitous disarmament campaign. The Sudan government introduced the disarmament campaign in 1987 to conceal its crimes creating the Arab tribal militias and providing them with special protection. Despite several disarmament campaigns the government has launched since the 1980s no Arabs or Arab militias have been disarmed of their weapons. Instead, they are armed and supplied with money and logistics.
The regime typically deploys large military forces to disarm villagers and at the same time conduct conscription. While disarming villages of weapons that regime authorities gave them; the army also rounds up youths and sends them to military training camps in Khartoum. Following training and equipping them, the regime deploys them in Sudan Army units to fight SPLA in the South Sudan, Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile state. As soon as the military carries out disarmament operations in villages, reclaiming weapons and conscripting youths, Arab militias launch attacks on the undefended. This tactic is used by the Bashir government to force Darfuri youths into the Sudan Army to fight the SPLA. Moreover, at the same time it enables Arab militia to attack undefended villages, kill and displace residents, ultimately seizing their properties.
Originally these Arab Janjaweed militia raids and pogroms were carried out using horses and camels. The militias would seize everything that they could carry burning what was left. At this stage, the regime was distributing AK-47 assault rifles. This tactic gradually transitioned from using animals as transport into supplying these Janjaweed militias with Toyota pickup trucks equipped with heavy machine guns and mortars backed by Sudanese Air Force attacks.
Between 1993 and 1996, Osama Bin Laden also supplied herds of camels and cattle to the families of Janjaweed militias in Waddi Salih, Western Darfur region. He visited Waddi Salih and planned to establish training camps for al Qaeda. But he left Sudan prior to beginning that phase. The communication towers he built are still standing in Sarira Mountains, Western Darfur Region.
In 1996 the strategy of faux disarmament was clearly evident especially in the Western Darfur Region. The Army conducted large scale disarmament operations while Janjaweed militias launched attacks, burnt villages and displaced more than 2,000 people from the Western Darfur Region who were sent as refugees to Chad. When the regime realized that Arab tribal groups failed in these campaigns the Khartoum government began supporting them with government ground and air forces. That enabled the regime to bring more Arabs from Chad and organize them into militias. This forced the indigenous Darfurian people to form the two resistance movements; The Sudan Liberation Movement and Justice and Equality Movement in 2003, to defend their rights.
The Bashir regime in Khartoum recruited Arabs using this tactic for years to ethnically cleanse Darfur of its indigenous black African people and occupy the land. The truth is that Darfur civilians had little to no weapons. The regime distributed such weapons to Arabs for several years. Therefore, there is a need to disarm Arab tribal militias not Darfurian civilians.
The weapons and vehicles that Sudan Vice-President Hasabo was talking about were part of Janjaweed militias that refused to support government plans to join RSF militias and kill Darfurian people. Others refused to go to Yemen to fight for Saudi Arabia, especially those Janjaweed militias that are operating under the command of Musa Hilal. In 2016 he refused to execute government orders because the regime failed to implement an agreement he concluded with it in al Geneina, the capital of the Western Darfur region in July 2015. Under that agreement, he was to be promoted to the rank of Major General, allowing him to recruit 10,000 for his militia force. He was promised 10 billion Sudanese pounds and was to be given command of all Janjaweed militias in Darfur. President Bashir is notorious for not honoring deals he signs with his opponents.
Instead of Hilal, Bashir created an RSF/Janjaweed militia and nominated Mohamed Hamdan Dagolo (Hemetti) who was Chadian by origin as commander. Musa Hilal, the notorious Janjaweed commander whose militias killed thousands of people and burned hundreds of villages, especially in North Darfur, was hoping to be given that command.
The fact is “disarmament” in Darfur is completely fictitious, as those who possessed arms and Toyota pickup trucks in Darfur are government militias. They are the armed RSF/Janjaweed militias that create insecurity and instability for Darfurians. Vice president Hasabo knows well that those who own weapons and vehicles are his Arab tribal militias, not the indigenous Darfurians.
Harun Mediger, a member of Musa Hill’s militia told Radio Dabanga on August 11, 2017 that Vice-President Hasabo’s “disarmament campaign” is clearly targeting Sheik Musa Hilal and his Border Guard militias. He wants to integrate these militias into the RSF but this will not happen. It is clear that the Bashir regime’s objective is not to make peace in Darfur but to mobilize more Arab militias and integrate them into RSF in order to commit more atrocities in Darfur, Kordofan and Blue Nile conflict regions. Bashir’s ultimate objective raising this RSF/Janjaweed militia is to destabilize governments of the neighboring countries of Chad, Libya and CAR.
Many Darfurian activists ignored the announcement of Hasabo’s “disarmament campaign”. According to one Darfurian activist, who remained anonymous, he told Radio Dabanga on August 7, 2017 that “All those who carry arms in Darfur mostly belong to militias backed by the government, supported with weapons, and they are called many names such as Rapid Support Forces or Border Guards”. He also insisted that process of disarmament in Darfur “does not require a lot of talking”. These “weapons can be collected by the leaders of these militias”. Hissein Abu Sharati, the Coordinator of Darfur IDP camps also told Radio Dabanga that “government announcements to collect weapons misleads local and international public opinions”
The Bashir regime has continually carried out for decades an Orwellian campaign of ‘disarmament’ in Darfur as cover for genocidal ethnic cleaning of indigenous black African people. It has recruited Arab tribes who conduct these operations and are the only people in Darfur allowed by Bashir’s regime to possess arms and Toyota pickup trucks. They are considered by the regime as an integral part of the government security forces and therefore are immune from prosecution. They commit wide ranging atrocities against the indigenous black African Darfurian population that the Bashir Arab regime in Khartoum wants to exterminate and occupy their land. This Arab RSF/Janjaweed militia carries out genocide in Darfur under the direct control of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) that organizes, trains, arms, and supports logistically committing atrocities against innocent indigenous black African civilians.