Darfur: Militia Leader Implicates Khartoum

Janjaweed Chief Says Sudan Government Backed Attacks
(Interview available also en français, in deutsch, en espanol, in arabic)

Published on Human Rights Watch HRW, not dated.

A top militia leader says the Sudan government backed and directed Janjaweed activities in northern Darfur.

Widely regarded as the top Janjaweed leader in Darfur, Musa Hilal was interviewed over the course of several hours by Human Rights Watch researchers in Khartoum.

Hilal states that the government of Sudan directed all military activities of the militia forces he had recruited. “All of the people in the field are led by top army commanders,” he told Human Rights Watch on videotape. “…These people get their orders from the Western command center, and from Khartoum.”

“Musa Hilal squarely contradicts the government’s claim that it has ‘no relationship’ with local militias,” said Peter Takirambudde, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch’s Africa division.

The Sudan government has said that any atrocities in Darfur are the fault of Janjaweed “bandits” and are the result of recurring ethnic clashes in Darfur in which the government is “neutral” …

… Darfur government documents in the possession of Human Rights Watch refer to official Sudanese government support for Musa Hilal. In a memo dated February 13, 2004 from the office of a sub-locality in North Darfur, the authorities urge all “security units in the locality” to “allow the activities of the mujahedeen and the volunteers under the command of Sheikh Musa Hilal to proceed in the areas of [North Darfur] and to secure their vital needs.”

The memo continues, “We also highlight the importance of non-interference so as not to question their authorities and to overlook minor offences by the mujahedeen against civilians who are suspected members of the rebellion … ”

Human Rights Watch researchers conducted the video interview with Musa Hilal on September 27, 2004 in Khartoum. Since then, he has largely refrained from giving interviews to the media. (full text).


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