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Sudan’s RSF denies presence of foreign militia in N. Darfur gold area

January 7, 2017 (KHARTOUM) -The government militia Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has dismissed statements by the minister of interior about the presence of armed militias at Jebel Amir gold mines in North Darfur State.

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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)

Interior Minister, Ismat Abdel Rahman Zein al-Abdin, on Wednesday 5 January has called for the intervention of the army to end the control of foreign militias over gold mines in North Darfur State.

"They are more than 3,000 heavily armed foreigners riding four-wheel-drive vehicles in the gold rich area, in addition to other foreigners the interior ministry was not able to count because of the ’overlapping tribal ties in Jebel Amir," said Minister Zein al-Abdin.

However, in statements to the official news agency SUNA on Saturday, RSF spokesperson Adam Saleh ruled out the presence of foreign militia in Jebel Amir.

"The Rapid Support Forces and the Sudan Armed Forces are present in Jebel Amir performing their national duties, and there is no foreign presence in the area," he told SUNA.

The spokesperson further said the RSF "managed to capture four vehicles loaded with gold and two trucks transporting illegal migrants in the desert, north-west of Dongola, on their way to Libya."

He added that the trucks were transporting 140 migrants.

The minister who was briefing the parliament about the security situation in Jebel Amir spoke about an inter-ministerial meeting to discuss the matter, and pointed that they have no presence in the largest gold artisanal production area.

(ST)