Sudanese opposition calls for international probe into North Darfur violence

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KHARTOUM – The Sudanese opposition Thursday called for an international investigation into the recent clashes in North Darfur state between the government troops and the tribal militia of the Border Brigades Forces (BBF) led by Musa Hilal.

Within the framework of a weapons collection campaign, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) stormed Hilal headquarters in Mistiriyha after the killing of a commander of the government militia by the BBF on 27 November 2017.

As a result of the operation, Hilal, his sons and several senior BBF and tribal officials were arrested and transferred to Khartoum where they are held in the army detention centre. There were also reports of attacks human rights abuses against the civilians in Mistiriyha.

“The Sudan Call forces condemn the recent attacks by the government militias in Mistiriyha, and call for an immediate end of the war,” said the opposition alliance which gathers the political parties and armed groups including those of Darfur region.

The alliance further called for a “transparent investigation carried out by the (hybrid peacekeeping operation) UNAMID and UN officials on the violations against unarmed civilians, children, elderly and women”.

Hilal is accused of actively participating in the counterinsurgency operations led by the government forces during the first years of Darfur conflicts. However, the government now accuses him of colliding with the rebel groups to destabilize the region.

He refused to merge the BBF militia with the RSF which is part of the Sudanese army. The Mahameed leader is opposed to the appointment of another cousin as the RSF general commander considering it endangers his tribal leadership.

The opposition alliance which is a signatory of the Roadmap Agreement brokered by the African Union mediation to end the war and achieve democratic reforms also condemned the recent crackdown on the Sudanese newspapers.

They further called to release political detainees and expressed concern over the arbitrary detention of Naser Eldin Mukhtar a university student from Darfur region detained arrested by the security four months ago. Also, they condemned the political trial of Asim Omer, a university student accused of killing a police officer during a student demonstration in April 2016.

The opposition alliance called on the other “political partners” to “step up the resistance” adding they would propose a political platform for a joint action “to achieve the uprising of our people and overthrow the regime”.

The African Union-mediated peace process between the government and the Sudan Call forces has been stalled for more than a year.

After the end of the national dialogue process in October 2016, the government proposes that the opposition join the constitutional process after the signing of a peace agreement.

The opposition remains divided over the move forward. Some are supportive to a proposition by the SPLM-N Agar to participate in the general elections of 2020 while others are doubtful saying they do not believe that the regime will accept a democratic transition and call for a popular uprising.

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