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UNAMID handed over its former bases to Darfur militia: rebel groups

RSF militiamen (Sudanreeves.org photo)
September 9, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Two Sudanese armed groups accused the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) of handing over two former bases in North Darfur state to the notorious Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia.

The UNAMID, which is tasked with the protection of civilians from militia attacks, handed over several sites in Darfur to the Sudanese authorities following a resolution by the UN Security Council last June to cut the number of operation’s troops and police by 40 percent, citing the improvement of the security situation in the region.

In a joint statement on Saturday, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) said that the joint mission gave its bases in Maleet and Malha areas of North Darfur state to the RSF militia in flagrant breach to the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) signed between the Government of Sudan (GoS) and the UNIMID.

The two groups further called on the international community to "strongly condemn this unlawful act and urge UN and AU to ask the Government of Sudan to order the RSF to immediately evacuate" these bases.

The SOFA "stipulates that any property left by the UNAMID should be handed over to local authorities to be used for civilian purposes only," reads the joint statement.

The two groups further claimed that the Sudanese government militia is using the two sites, which are not far from the Libyan border, against the innocent civilians.

"The RSF have already arrested more than 700 individuals in these two localities," they said.

The Sudanese president earlier this year has integrated the RSF in the army, as part of the government efforts to disarm civilians and tribal militias in the region.

The militia was reconstituted in 2014 from the notorious Janjaweed that terrorized civilians in during the first years of Darfur crisis.

(ST)