Sudan: Warring South Darfur Tribes Agree to ‘Cessation of Hostilities’

Beleil — On Monday evening, leaders of the strife riven Daju and Rizeigat tribes signed an agreement to end hostilities under the supervision of the Vice-President of the Sovereignty Council and Commander of the Rapid support Forces (RSF), Mohamed ‘Hemeti’ Dagalo. Jurists and community activists have questioned the feasibility of quelling the violence through reconciliations.

During his address at the signing ceremony in Beleil, east of Nyala, capital of South Darfur, Hemeti said that what occurred “is not reconciliation, but a cessation of hostilities in order to open roads and markets, and stressed the need to arrest criminals on both sides”.

He promised that the investigation into the attacks on Daju villages in Beleil last month “will differ from previous investigations”.

RSF troops shown in the video clips during the attacks have been summoned for questioning. He also called on the displaced who fled their homes in Beleil to return.

He explained that the 2020 Juba Peace Agreement has settled the issue of land use and land ownership, and stated that the lands in Beleil belong to the Daju Sultanate. Others have the right to benefit from the land, provided that they do not encroach on the villages and farms of the residents, he said, and added that “non-acceptance of the other will lead to the country’s falling apart”. He further threatened to prosecute all those who give false information.

‘Superficial and fragile’

Lawyer Saleh Mahmoud, head of the Darfur Bar Association, said that the “tribal reconciliations in Darfur are superficial and fragile, and do not necessarily reflect the real demands of the victims”.

In an interview with Radio Dabanga he said that the authorities are putting pressure on community leaders to sign tribal reconciliation agreements.

He said that victims of the Beleil violence repeatedly described gunmen wearing RSF uniforms taking part in the attacks. “They do not have any confidence in the presence of RSF within the joint forces,” he said and called for a review of the situation.

According to Abdelbadi Abakar, a member of the Emergency Room for Relief for the Beleil Victims, “the agreement signed on Monday aims to hide the real culprits and legalises new herders’ settlements”.

He told Radio Dabanga that the attacks on villages in Beleil in December “were part of a tribal conflict, but rather organised, systematic attacks to chase the people from their villages”.

He stressed the necessity of urgently rescuing the victims, dismantling what he described as nomads settlements, and forming joint forces from the army and police, accusing native administration leaders of distancing themselves from the reality of their tribesmen.

CAR incursion

Hemeti announced the closure of the border with the Central African Republic (CAR) after a force wearing RSF uniforms entered the neighbouring country. He told the reconciliation agreement signing ceremony in Beleil on Monday that all those involved in the matter have now been arrested, the last group on Saturday.

He explained that RSF uniforms are manufactured inside Sudan and freely available, and accused unnamed parties of seeking to demonise the RSF “before and after the revolution”.