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Sudan’s RSF conducts disarmament operations in gold mines in N. Darfur

RSF armoured vehicles arrive to El Fasher on 27 October 2017 (ST Photo)
October 27, 2017 (EL-FASHER) - Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on Friday has carried out forcible disarmament operations in Jebel Amer gold mines, North Darfur state.

An RSF field commander told Sudan Tribune on the condition of anonymity his militia conducted a wide search campaign at Jebel Amer area, saying they seized large quantities of illegal weapons and unregulated motorcycles.

He added the RSF had forced the militiamen who were controlling Jebel Amer gold mines to flee the area.

“Our forces had also carried out another campaign in the Ghira Al-Zawiya area where they captured large quantities of weapons and motorcycles which were used in looting and stealing the property of the residents,” he said.

Last August, the Sudanese authorities launched a six-month disarmament campaign to eliminate illegal weapons in the conflict-affected areas in Sudan, particularly in Darfur region.

The higher committee for the collection of weapons and unregulated vehicles started the forcible phase of the campaign in all the states of Sudan on 15 October.

On 11 October, 10,000 RSF militiamen arrived in North Darfur to contribute to establishing security in the troubled state and support the mandatory phase of the disarmament campaign.

Large parts of the Jebel Amer gold mines are controlled by militias led by the tribal leader Musa Hilal who refuses to hand over his militias arms and defy the government.

In a report released in July 2016, UN experts said Hilal’s militiamen control at least 400 gold mines. They said the group earns some $54 million annually from levies on prospectors and support businesses, direct prospecting and the illegal exporting of mined gold.

Hilal, a former Janjaweed leader, rejects government call to merge his Border Guards Forces (BGF) with the RSF militia which is attached to the Sudanese army and led by one of his former aides.

(ST)