Johannesburg – One of Darfur’s most notorious militia leaders is in custody in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, following his capture by the Sudanese army, Sudan’s official news agency SUNA reported on Monday.
Musa Hilal was designated by the US State Department in 2004 as one of the top Janjaweed leaders running a terror campaign against civilians in Darfur.
Hilal’s arrest follows clashes on Sunday between his Border Guards Forces (BGF) and Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which left a Sudanese general and nine soldiers dead after the BGF targeted vehicles belonging to the RSF, in Mistiriyah in North Darfur.
The clashes came on the heels of attempts by the Sudanese government to collect weapons from the militants.
Confirming the arrest of Hilal and three of his sons, RSF Commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo accused the militia leader of being involved in a foreign conspiracy against Sudan.
According to Daglo, a foreign national holding advanced and modern communication devices was also arrested alongside Hilal, which confirmed the involvement of foreign parties in attempts to destabilise Darfur.
Sudanese Minister of State Defence Ali Mohamed Salim reported the situation in Mistiriyha was now calm and had returned to normal.
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.
Ten thousand RSF militiamen arrived in North Darfur on October 11 to help implement the mandatory phase of the disarmament campaign.
The higher committee for the collection of weapons and unregulated vehicles began the forcible phase of the campaign in all the states of Sudan on October 15.
However, Hilal refused to cooperate with the disarmament campaign and also rejected a government demand to merge his BGF militia with the RSF and announced his readiness to confront government forces militarily if they attempted to disarm his militia forcibly.