Home | Comment & Analysis    Sunday 13 August 2017

The paradox of weapons collection in Darfur


By Mahmoud A. Suleiman

As a Sudanese people who long for stability, peace and security, we have no objection to the decision to collect unlicensed weapons throughout Sudan, but our reservation is about trying to collect weapons and selectively confiscate of arms from opponents of the regime and allowing illegal possession of weapons for the government supporters. The latter scenario is likely going to be the outcome of the alleged campaign. Moreover, as a Sudanese person, I have doubts about the objectives of this regime in putting forward this project 16 years after the outbreak of the proxy war by employing the Janjawid militias in the Darfur region and committing the heinous crimes against unarmed civilians.

The regime of the National Congress Party (NCP) announcement of weapons collection in the region of Darfur and the confiscation of unlicensed Boko Haram vehicles continue to generate widespread reactions in the States of the Darfur, the political forces and Sudanese civil society organizations. Such concerns have also been expressed by the Sudanese opposition factions among them the National Umma Party (NUM) who questioned the government’s ability to carry out the task of collecting weapons and dismantling the arsenal of allied tribal institutions. It is worthy to bear in mind that the heavy proliferation of weapons in the war-ravaged region has contributed to the fragmentation of the social fabric along with the never-ending intertribal warfare. Sadly, the continuous tribal fighting between the Rizeigat and Maaliya tribes is a vivid example. Unfortunately, the dreaded war and the tribal conflict between the Rizeigat and al-Maaliya renewed. Without a doubt, responsibility lies in the NCP government, which does not want stability for the people of Sudan in Darfur. Furthermore and according to the Political Bureau of the National Umma Party (NUP) indicated that , 151 tribal conflicts have taken place in the Darfur region since the ill-fated arrival of the military coup of the ruling regime of the National Islamic Front (NIF) and its successor the ruling regime of the National Congress Party (NCP) which contributed to fueling and feeding the factors of conflict and division among the tribes, in the wars of ideology and endless absurd civil wars of attrition.

According to the Sudan Tribune electronic Journal on Sunday, 23 July 2017 reported that al-Bashir’s Vice President Hassabo Abel Rahman announced that his government would launch a campaign to collect weapons in Darfur and reorganise the government militias before the end of the year 2017. Hassabo was reported to have announced that the government would start to implement its plans to collect weapons from civilians unauthorised groups to and called on the religious leaders incite the population to hand over their arms and to contribute to the efforts to stabilise the region. We must leave weapons only for certain purposes," said the vice president and stressed that this plan is a "strategic project" for peace in Darfur. http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article63065

Furthermore, in press statements, the governor of North Darfur state Abdel-Wahid Youssef, said Abdel-Rahman, who chairs the higher committee tasked with the collection of illegal arms in Darfur and Kordofan, would visit El-Fasher on Monday. Abdel-Wahid was reported to have added saying that the committee was formed to collect illegal weapons not only from Darfur and Kordofan but from all Sudan’s states. https://www.middleeastobserver.org/2017/08/07/38932/

And in the state of central Darfur, the Vice President of the Republic, Hassabo Mohamed Abdel Rahman, head of the Supreme Committee for the collection of arms and the legalization of cars, stressed on the need to impose the prestige of the state and the rule of law. He added and said that Sudan has become a conduit for weapons that are used in the looting and tribal conflicts. He was also reported to have said during his address to the meeting of the Council of ministers of the central Darfur State government and the Security Legislative Council mandate: that the collection of arms and licensing of Four wheel vehicles SUVs campaign comes in order to eliminate the negative consequences of the war, the psychological, social and economic impact, and added that the first phase of the weapons collection began in Darfur states five Kordofan, Including the whole Sudan, and said: The plan is based on the collection of weapons and vehicles, which have become very negative and destructive of the economy, and is a war machine used in tribal conflict and the transfer of arms and the drug trade.

In general, the availability of fire arms in the hands of tribal militias loyal to the ruling National Congress Party, which seeks to engage citizens in self-conflict away from the main issues of concern to them, is the most important cause of the conflicts and the tribal war in Darfur.

With regard to the decision of the ruling regime of the National Congress Party (NCP) to collect weapons from the hands of citizens in the Darfur region at this particular time and after 28 lean years of its arbitrary dictatorial rule that characterised by crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of genocide, it is nothing but a knee-jerk reaction or spilling ashes in the eyes as the saying goes.

The first and the most people concerned with this decision are the Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in the Darfur region. Thus, the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and other Sudanese citizens consider the decision of the National Congress Party (NCP) to collect weapons in Darfur is nothing but propaganda of lies because the arms in the region are only in the hands of the government and its militias and mercenaries. As the saying of the Sudanese people goes, their protector is the thief himself! It is a laughable and raising tear at the same time; of the scourge that stirs up laughter.

The paradox is that the weapons that are now being collected from Darfur are essentially handed over by the government of Sudan (GoS) to the Janjawid militias, which turned into the so-called Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which continues supporting the government’s army to fight the Darfur Movements, killing unarmed civilians and robbing and stealing the unarmed citizens’ property.

In the end, the government will only find weapons in the hands of its militias and mercenaries. Because the (GoS) wants them to be carrying arms day and night to protect it and intimidate citizens so that Security which is paramount for the regime so as security should not turn into lawlessness and out of control as they believe. The NCP ruling regime has been saying it all the time.

The Paradox of Confiscation and Collection of Weapons in Darfur is nothing but a lie Propaganda. The Displaced people and citizens mocked at the collection of weapons propaganda.

As part of the reactions to the government decisions to collect weapons, the Darfurians mocked the decision as propaganda, since there is no Darfurian citizen carrying a weapon or owning a land cruiser with a Dushka, wearing a skullcap, walking around the market carrying weapons, looting and cutting roads without accountability other than the government Itself and its allies.. An activist for Radio Dabanga from El Fasher said the other day that all those who carry weapons in Darfur are the militias that were formed by the government and supplied with weapons and called them with many names such as Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and Border Guards and Popular Defence Forces (PDF) other names. The Darfuris said that the government when it says it will collect weapons from citizens is nothing but a falsehood prevailing par excellence. The (NCP) regime seems to have lost the compass and failed to call things by their names. The correct name was the government’s collection of arms from the hands of its militias and the groups that provided them with arms, not citizens. Moreover, the people in the Displaced Persons Camps stressed that the process of collecting weapons does not need to be talked about too much. The weapon, as one of the activist said, can be collected by reference to the leaders of these militias and the civil administrations associated with some of the senior officials who stay with the government in Khartoum. The General Coordinator of IDP camps for displaced person described the government decision of collecting weapons as a disinformation for local and global public opinion. He stressed that all the weapons in Darfur are in the hands of militias linked to the regime through the security services directly or through the delegates in the executive authority in Khartoum and Darfur but not the victim, and citizens of Darfur. He stressed that the collection of arms from the hands of citizens depends on the National Congress Party (NCP) regime in Khartoum and the restoration of the prestige of the state and reconciliation in Darfur and the enactment of clear and deterrent laws governing the state systems and bodies entrusted with the collection of weapons and arms carriers.
Other commentators on the aforementioned subject say that opportunity to investigate Darfur chemical weapon attacks must not be squandered and should take the priority now. Member states of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) must take this opportunity of weapon collection by the (GoS) to demand a proper investigation into alleged chemical attacks by Sudanese government forces in the Jebel Marra region of Darfur.

The decision of the ruling National Congress Party to collect arms from Sudanese citizens in Darfur is like the decision to hold a referendum to abolish the Darfur region and to keep only the five states, which was a random decision in the interest of the government of the genocidal fugitive from international justice Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir.

Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir plans by all his capabilities to be president of Sudan for life so as not to leave a gap or the scope for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to be able to arrest him and take him to The Hague for the trial for the crimes he has committed against the people of Sudan in the Darfur region. He believes strongly that his survival in power in the rule of the Sudan would protect him from the gripping hand of that fearful court. For this reason, his regime works tirelessly to create specialized projects to distract the Sudanese citizen and the Sudanese opposition together to keep them away from the basic issues of concern to the Sudanese people. He employs all the energies of his rule and his entrusted entourage for that end.

The Paradoxes in the (NCP) regime’s arms collection in Darfur centres squarely around the fact that the supervisor of this task is a person who was at the top of the government officials who recruited and armed the notorious Janjaweed militias in their various names, including the current infamous Rapid Support Forces (RSF). As the Sudanese popular proverb goes :( Its Guard is its Thief), So to speak!
Thus, the decision of the ruling regime of the National Congress Party (NCP) to collect weapons in Darfur is a project in the face of it seems good but in the midst of it carries evil Seeds of old sedition renewed.

Before the end of this article, we pray asking for the mercy of God in the spirit of the late First pioneer of the Sudanese women’s movement Fatima Ahmed Ibrahim, who moved to the Hereafter this morning Saturday the twelfth of August 2017 in London. The departure of the pioneer feminist movement activist Fatima Ahmed Ibrahim tells the long history of the struggle of the Sudanese women as well as the glorious history of the Sudanese people through Eras and Epochs. Fatima Ahmed Ibrahim represents a milestone in the Sudanese political history.

George S. Patton the senior officer of the United States Army who commanded the U.S. Seventh Army in the Mediterranean and European theaters of World War II, but is best known for his leadership of the U.S. Third Army in France and Germany following the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944 has been quoted as said: "Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of men who

Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman is an author, columnist and a blogger. His blog is http://thussudan.wordpress.com/

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