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Ex-Janjaweed leader returns to Khartoum amid rapturous reception

May 30, 2015 (KHARTOUM) - The Darfurian Arab Mahameed clan chief, Musa Hilal, has arrived in Khartoum on Saturday to participate in the swearing-in ceremony of president Omer al-Bashir amid remarkable reception by his supporters.

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Former janjaweed leader and tribal chief, Musa Hilal welcomed by his supporters at Khartoum Airport on Saturday 30 May 2015 (Photo by Saleh Ajab Aldor)

Hilal, who was one of the main militia leaders that participated in the brutal counter-insurgency campaign during the first years of Darfur crisis, turned his militiamen against the governor of North Darfur state, Osman Kibir and accused him of feeding tribal conflicts in the state.

The notorious Janjaweed leader then started making statements critical of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), of which he is a member, and calling for deep reforms.

He left the capital Khartoum in mid-2013 and retreated to his home town of Misteriya in North Darfur along with his troops and continued blasting the government and the NCP.

The Mahameed chief did not give any statements upon his arrival as he seemed busy welcoming the large crowed of recipients at Khartoum airport.

He said in a written statement that he was concerned about the situation in Darfur, noting he launched a societal dialogue with the various tribes in the region before he left Khartoum in his capacity as a special advisor for the ministry of federal affairs.

Hilal said his dialogue culminated in holding several reconciliations, pointing the dialogue was conducted in coordination with the presidency represented by the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) Commission.

“After we concluded the dialogue in Khartoum, I travelled to Darfur to [oversee] the implementation of the [agreements] on the ground. This [dialogue] had an obvious impact on the establishment of security in the region,” he added.

The Janjaweed leader said he came to Khartoum to participate in president Bashir’s swearing-in ceremony and also to accelerate peace moves.

He further vowed to continue his efforts to achieve peace and tribal reconciliations in Darfur, saying many steps would be revealed in this regard in the coming days.

Hilal also demanded the Sudanese people, particularly the people of Darfur, to turn the page on their differences and look to the future, urging the government and the friendly countries to grant reparations to the victims of the conflict.

The Darfur conflict began in 2003 when an ethnic minority rose up against the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum, which then was accused of enlisting the Janjaweed militia group to help crush the rebellion.

In April 2006 the UN Security Council imposed financial and travel ban against Hilal for obstructing peace in Darfur. The then US president George Bush issued an executive order enforcing similar sanctions on them.

In January 2008, the Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir appointed Hilal as a special advisor for the Ministry of Federal Affairs in Sudan.

In mid-2013, however, Hilal returned to North Darfur, where his fighters launched widespread attacks on government forces and allied militias.

Last year, Hilal’s troops seized control of western localities in North Darfur state including Saraf Omra, Kutum, Kebkabiya, Al-Seraif, and El Waha.

The tribal chief announced the establishment of administrations in these localities, naming his forces the Sudanese Revolutionary Awakening Council (SRAC).