Saturday, September 14, 2019

Sudan: Musa Hilal given senior govt position (Part 3)

Article from The UK
By Xan Rice, East Africa correspondent
Dated Monday 21 January 2008 13.08 GMT
Darfur militia leader joins Sudan government
Photo:  Alleged Janjaweed militia organiser Musa Hilal addresses villagers at his north Darfur home region in 2005. Photograph: Beatrice Mategwa/Reuters

A tribal sheikh described as "the poster child for Janjaweed atrocities in Darfur" has been given a senior government position by the Sudanese authorities.

Musa Hilal, who is accused of leading militias on a state-sponsored campaign to cleanse parts of Darfur of non-Arab farmers, will act as special advisor to the minister of federal government, local media reported.

The appointment was made despite Hilal facing a United Nations travel ban and sanctions for his role in the conflict, and ahead of his possible indictment by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes.

Hilal has admitted recruiting local Janjaweed militias for the government, but denies personal involvement in the scorched earth campaign that has driven more than two million people from their homes, and seen more than 200,000 people die.

He told Reuters on Sunday that his new role would be based in Khartoum but would include travel to outlying areas.

Analysts say Hilal's nomination will act as a further stumbling block to efforts to persuade Darfur's myriad rebel groups to enter peace talks with the government, who they accuse of condoning and even rewarding those people responsible for the worst atrocities in Sudan's western region.

In September, President Omar al-Bashir appointed Ahmad Muhammad Harun, one of two men sought by the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Darfur, as state minister for humanitarian affairs. The other accused, an alleged Janjaweed leader known as Ali Kushayb, was freed from jail the following month.

Richard Dicker, director of the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch, said the UN secretary general, Ban Ki Moon, who is due to meet President al-Bashir during an African Union summit next week, should insist that Hilal's position is revoked.

"Musa Hilal is the poster child for Janjaweed atrocities in Darfur," said Dicker. "Rewarding him with a special government post is a slap in the face to Darfur victims and to the UN Security Council."

In April 2003, shortly after a rebel attack on a Darfur army base that triggered the conflict, Hilal, the son of a famous paramount chief, was released from prison in Port Sudan where he was serving a sentence for robbery. He immediately returned to Darfur, convening a meeting where he reportedly ordered Arab tribesman to attack all non-Arab villages and steal their livestock. He was given arms and supplies by the government.

In a Guardian interview in 2004, Hilal said that he raised a militia from his clan to fight the rebellion launched by mainly African ethnic groups in Darfur.

"The government was putting forward a programme of arming for all the people," he said. "I called our sons and told them to become armed."

But rights groups allege that Hilal's role went far beyond recruitment. It says that he ran training camps for his fighters, and was present at the scene of several large attacks on villages in North Darfur.

As part of its case against Harun, prosecutors at the International Criminal Court described Hilal as a "notorious militia/Janjaweed leader" who spoke alongside Harun at a militia rally in 2003, making a "very racist" speech in which he talked of "holy war". The court said it will issue more indictments, and Hilal is thought to be high on the list of candidates.

Sally Chin, a Sudan analyst at the International Crisis Group, said Hilal's appointment came at a time when some Arab communities in Darfur were voicing anger at the government, and even forming alliances with rebel groups.

"Giving Hilal an official position is a disturbing move," she said. "It sends a very negative message to Darfur and to the negotiation process."

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Sudan: Hilal called for end to tribal fighting in Darfur
20 July 2016
Sudan Watch - September 09, 2019
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Sudan: Musa Hilal faces court martial in Khartoum (Part 1)
10 September 2019
Sudan Watch - September 10, 2019
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ICC: Hilal knows truth about Hemeti & Darfur war (Part 2)
27 November 2017
Sudan Watch - September 10, 2019
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Musa Hilal & Janjaweed - Misseriya and Rizeigat tribes sign peace deal in W. Darfur, W. Sudan
Sudan Watch - June 30, 2010
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Video Transcript of 2004 interview with alleged Janjaweed leader warlord Musa Hilal 
Sudan Watch - July 06, 2019
Here is a copy of the video transcript of a Human Rights Watch interview with Musa Hilal in September 2004. Last paragraph refers to a list of individuals alleged to be guilty of crimes against humanity. Musa Hilal's name is on the list. 
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Sudan Warlord Sheikh Musa Hilal interview in Darfur 2004 and Khartoum 2005
Sudan Watch - July 04, 2019
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Warlord Sheikh Musa Hilal of Darfur, Sudan: Lynchpin of Arab Janjaweed Militia Recruitment
Sudan Watch - July 04, 2019
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ICC: Violence against civilians in Darfur Sudan must stop and all 
Sudan Watch - June 28, 2019
ICC Darfur suspects must stand trial
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Mass killings in Darfur, Al-Bashir should face justice, says ICC - Al-Bashir taken from Kober prison to prosecutor's office in Khartoum Sudan, formally charged with corruption and money laundering
Sudan Watch - June 27, 2019

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