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Sudanese Forces Arrest Top Darfur Tribal Chief

Sudanese Forces Arrest Top Darfur Tribal Chief

Tuesday, 28 November, 2017 - 08:15
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (L) celebrates with tribal leader Musa Hilal (R) at the wedding of the Hilal's daughter and Chad's President Idriss Deby in 2012 [Reuters/ Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah]

Sudan's armed forces arrested a tribal chief from Darfur with a number of his aides and handed them to authorities in Khartoum.

The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) arrested Mousa Hilal, who is also a former aide to President Omar al-Bashir, near his hometown of Mustariaha in the state of North Darfur, along with three of his children following accusations of their involvement in conspiracies against the country.

The official news agency reported RSF Commander Mohammed Hamdan Hametti as saying that his forces had arrested Hilal following fierce clashes that erupted between fighters loyal to Hilal and an RSF unit near Mustariaha, where 10 RSF members including a commander died.

Hametti told the official news agency that Hilal has been handed over to the competent authorities in Khartoum, accusing him of involving in a foreign conspiracy against Sudan. He added that a foreign member carrying advanced and modern communication devices was also arrested alongside Hilal. He indicated that this affirms the involvement of foreign parties, which he didn't name, in destabilizing security and stability in Darfur.

The RSF commander stressed that the government would proceed with the implementation of a disarmament campaign to defeat the outlaws, while forces continue to "impose the authority of the state".

Hametti further confirmed the situation in Mistariaha is now stable and under full control.

Hilal was one of the most prominent supporters of the Sudanese government during the war with Darfur rebel forces. His group became known as the "Janjaweed" and is accused of several crimes against rebels in Darfur.

Hilal's supporters insist that he led the Border Guard Forces, along with the Sudanese government, in a war against rebels but he later disagreed with Khartoum authorities, which led him to form the Sudanese Revolutionary Awakening Council (SRAC).

Last August, Sudanese authorities launched a six-month disarmament campaign to eliminate illegal weapons in the conflict-affected areas in Sudan, particularly in Darfur region.Citizens were ordered to hand over their weapons to the nearest police station.

Hilal refused to hand over his troops' weapons or merge them with the RSF forces led by one of his cousins Commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, dubbed Hametti.

The tribal chief considered the formation of RSF a direct threat against him and left Khartoum to his hometown of Mistariaha along with his troops while maintaining a member of the parliament. After that, he announced the establishment of administrations in areas under his control and named his forces Sudanese Revolutionary Awakening Council.

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