Skepticisms over credibility of the proposed joint security forces in Darfur


29.12.2021( El-fashir) Observers have underestimated the chances of success of the joint deterrent force with special tasks, which was decided to be formed by the Supreme Council for Security Arrangements headed by the Chairman of the Sudanese Sovereign Council, Abdel-Fattah Al-Burhan, on the seventh of this December.  The proposed joint security forces  which will based in El-fashir,  consists of the Sudanese armed forces, rapid support forces , the armed struggle movements’ forces, police and  the General Intelligence Service  to curb security chaos in the western Darfur region.

The decision specified the tasks and competencies of that force, but it did not clarify whether this joint force comes in implementation of the security arrangements within the peace agreement signed between the Sudanese government and the armed movements in early October of the year 2020 in Juba, or another force to maintain security due to the attacks that the region is currently witnessing. Observers believe that the success of this joint force at the minimum level to resolve the security chaos in the region depends on its nationalism, training and rehabilitation, unifying its combat doctrine and raising its efficiency with regard to human rights.   Experiences has proven the failure of the previously deployed forces in  curbing  attacks on defenseless civilians in Darfur.

Readiness of the forces:   Speaking to reporters after his visit to the  premise of the armed struggle  the movements  in El Fasher, member of the Transitional Sovereignty Council, Dr. Al-Hadi Idris, said ” the armed struggle movements that signed the Juba Agreement for Peace in Sudan have completed arrangements for participation in the joint force with special tasks concerned with maintaining security and stability in the Darfur region”.

Idris directed the armed struggle forces to exercise restraint and deal forcefully against all outlaws, and declared that the states of Darfur would be safe and stable within three months, after the formation of these joint forces.  For his part, commander of the Rapid Support Forces in El-fashir , Brigadier General Gedo Abu Nushuk, , indicates that there is an urgent need to implement the provision of security arrangements for the forces of armed struggle movements, stressing  that the spread of weapons in the hands of citizens contributed to the aggravation of the security situation in the region.

Meanwhile, leaders of the armed struggle  movements affirmed the readiness of their forces to participate in the joint forces, to maintain security and extend the prestige of the state and rule of law, considering that the start of the formation of the joint force is a positive step, and is the starting point for the enforcement of the security arrangements clause, which the movements have been demanding since they signed the Juba Peace Agreement.

Speaking to Darfur 24, Governor of North Darfur state , Nimir Abdel Rahman, expressed his movement’s readiness to join the security arrangement forces at any time.

Overcoming Security Challenges:    Head of the National Commission for Human Rights, North Darfur office, Muhammad Haqar, believes that the formation of this force is a step in the direction of extending the prestige of the state, adding that  all  the security breaches stems from  lack of rule of law.

While the journalis, Mohamed Abdullah,who closely  follows the situation in Darfur, says that “the joint deterrent force that was formed recently pursuant to a decision of the Supreme Committee for Security Arrangements headed by Al-Burhan and the membership of the leaders of the armed struggle movements , will not achieve the purpose for which it was formed, for objective reasons; the first of which: that This joint deterrent force, whose number was set at 3,300, is not the force stipulated in the Juba Peace Agreement, which was set by the agreement at about 12,000 elements divided equally between the government and the armed struggle forces in order to protect civilians and establish security in Darfur”   “The force that was recently formed is an emergency force only, to deal with the wide security breaches currently taking place in  Darfur region, which means that the government wants to jump over the problems and challenges that prevent the formation of the joint force stipulated in the agreement due to the political and economic changes that resulted from the recent military coup in the country” Mohamed Abdallah  said.    Abdullah believes that this step prompted some armed movements to refrain from  being part the joint force, which explains the failure of the forces of these movements to arrive for fear that it would lead to the death of the idea of the joint force referred to in the Juba Peace Agreement.  In the same vein, the writer and political analyst, Muhammad Badawi, underestimates the chances of success of this force, due to its structure, which he described as fragile. Badawi believes that this force was originally civilians who were militarized for specific circumstances and had nothing to do with the law.

Doubts over mission of the joint force:  Some observers question the impartiality of these forces based on the recent civil conflicts that erupted in the Kolgi area of North Darfur and the city of El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur,  accusing some members of the forces, including the Rapid Support forces and the struggle Movement of siding with their ethnic groups in the recent tribal fighting. A senior IDP community leaders   from zamzam camp, in the vicinity of El-Fashir, told Darfur24 that ” we don’t count on any force that the rapid Support Forces is part to. We are now imprisoned in our camp due to repeated attacks by the janjaweed forces”.  The current security situation:

The mayor of Zamzam camp for the displaced people , Sheikh Ahmed Nour, told Darfur 24.” We do not count on a force that the  rapid support forces are part to. Now we are imprisoned in displacement camps due to the repeated attacks on the displaced people  by the Janjaweed militias”.   Initial reports of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in North Darfur state ,indicate that more than 300 people were killed, more than 200 girls and women were raped, and more than 40 villages were burned from August to November 2021 , and these areas still witness violations from time to time.

The mayor indicates that the militias that attack unarmed civilians in the vicinity of Kolgi area, near the state capital of El Fasher, are originally soldiers affilated with the Rapid Support Forces.   ” Confirmed reports indicated that the Rapid Support Forces had participated in the tribal fighting of West Darfur State” Ahmed Nour said.   Mayor Nour adde”The signatories to the Juba Peace Agreement must reconsider their strategy of maintaining security in the Darfur region”.

Journalist Muhammad Abdullah says that this force will be made up of parties accused of being part of the conflicts in the region, and he inferred from the statements issued by the tribes after each fighting, which means that the lack of trust, mental image and stereotyping will complicate the work of the joint force.  “If the Higher Committee for Security Arrangements really wants the effectiveness and success of this force, it must seek the assistance of a neutral force from outside the Darfur region, and not linked to the social components in the region, for example, the forces of the SPLM in the north in the two regions and Kordofan” Abdallah said.

Evidence for this , according to journalist Muhammad Abdullah, the  accusations which were leveled against some parties in this proposed force in the past, before the fall of the former regime, that they practiced favoritism during the period of collecting weapons, and explicit accusations were leveled at them that they collected weapons from some components and turned a blind eye to other components in the region. 

Human rights dossier    Last June, Human Rights Watch stressed that Sudan has shown no sign of moving forward with much-needed security sector reform, noting that the deployment of forces with poor human rights records, untrained and ill-equipped to conduct a rule of law investigation creates an environment ripe for abuses. In the same context, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva urged against deploying a protection force before it is trained in human rights and international humanitarian law.

“The national authorities have assembled a Temporary Joint Protection Force of 3,000 personnel for deployment later this month, and we urge them to ensure that this force receives comprehensive training on human rights and international humanitarian law prior to its deployment,” the High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a Geneva press release.    Meanwhile, the Director of the National Commission for Human Rights in North Darfur, Mohamed Haggar, revealed to Darfur 24 that the lack of training of this joint force, which is expected to be deployed to maintain security, was raised in a meeting that included officials from the United Nations, jurists and civil society organizations in the state, where the participants demanded the necessity of training this force before its deployment.

Journalist Mohamed Abdullah believes that this force was formed in a hurry and in reaction to the course of security incidents in Darfur and its developments, and it did not undergo the necessary training and qualification in the areas of security maintenance, human rights, crime control, and weapons collection.

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