Road levies… another aspect of the war in Sudan

Khartoum – Darfur

The Khartoum-El-Fasher national road and some cities in the Darfur region are witnessing signs of road closures in some areas, the establishment of road barriers by armed civilians, and forcing bus and car drivers and passengers to pay fees under the pretext of protecting them from armed looting.

Driver complaints and the owners of buses in the cities of Darfur complained about the spread of this phenomenon on all the roads linking the cities and villages of Darfur, where money collection points vary from one road to another. For example, the road from the city of Kass to Nyala, which is 85 kilometers long, has about 40 barriers , where armed men force car owners and passengers pay money at check points.

On the “Khartoum-El Fasher” national road, Ahmed Abdullah, a bus driver, says that he was forced to pay more than one million five hundred thousand Sudanese pounds ($2,100) to the gunmen on the road. He added: They force bus drivers and citizens to pay money, and if they refuse, the car is looted. Immediately after moving

Ahmed revealed to Darfur 24 that there are civilians in military uniform taking advantage of civilian cars that are stopped in villages and cities, exercising forced taxes, and sometimes deflating the tires.”


On the Nyala-Al-Fasher road, a number of bus drivers said that more than 43 tents were set up by armed individuals between the two cities, in addition to the presence of other gates for the Rapid Support Forces operating in the practice of collecting by paying a specific amount at each crossing point.

A driver of a four-wheel drive car, “E, A, Sh,” told Darfur 24 that he had to stop the work he had been doing between the two cities for more than 8 years due to its lack of economic feasibility. He added, “The car’s capacity is 12 people, compared to 40,000 pounds per passenger, bringing the total amount to 480,000 pounds.” At the same time, we pay more than 250 thousand for gates, fuel, and expenses. This is a losing operation.”

levies collected by armed struggle movements

In the same context, a number of drivers in the Sudanese border city of Al-Tineh, 400 km northwest of Al-Fasher, the capital of North Darfur, revealed that there are more than 30 gates on the road where fees are collected without any receipts by some armed struggle movements. The driver, “M, A,” told Darfur 24 that they are forced to pay Levies three times in one area due to the presence of a number of movements there, including the Orchi and Um Marahik areas. He added: “These areas are safe and there are no signs of war. Citizens must be helped to move, flourish and revive trade between the state of Chad and Sudan instead of imposing fees.”


Abdullah Muhammad Saleh, one of the leaders of the armed struggle movements in the city of El Fasher, justified the payment.

Increased travel costs
Because of these levies, the prices of travel tickets between the various cities of Darfur rose to more than ten times in some of them, and according to accurate statistics by Darfur 24, the prices of tickets between the cities of “Omdurman and El Fasher” ranged between 150 thousand pounds, while in April they were only 25 thousand pounds, and from Al-Nahud. To the city of El Fasher, it increased from 16,000 to 30,000 pounds, and from the city of El Fasher to Nyala, it amounted to 35,000 pounds for buses and 75,000 pounds for four-wheel drive cars, while before the war it was 8,000 for buses and 12,000 pounds for cars.



From the city of Nyala to Zalingei, the capital of Central Darfur state, the cost of the ticket amounted to 60 thousand pounds, while it was only 9 thousand pounds before the war. And from Zalingei to the city of El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur state, the cost of the ticket increased from 12 thousand before the war to 60 thousand pounds. “Before the war, it was 12 thousand.” Pounds only.



The prices of travel tickets from the city of Nyala to the city of El Daein, the capital of East Darfur State, are the lowest and most stable since the outbreak of the war in mid-April, as they rose from 15,000 pounds to 35,000 pounds and stabilized for more than four months at 40,000 pounds.




On the horns of a dilemma
The rise in ticket prices due to levies comes at a time when residents of cities witnessing war are forced to flee to safer cities, which increases the suffering of those fleeing and puts them between the bonds of battle and the cost of travel tickets. Due to the inability of dozens of citizens to afford tickets, they were forced to flee from the city of Nyala to El Daein. By foot.



Joint forces

In the city of El Fasher, the provincial capital of North Darfur State, hundreds of trucks are gathering, waiting to move to the city of Kosti in central Sudan via scort of the joint convoy of the armed struggle movements.

Jamal Ahmed Naeem tells Darfur 24 that the armed struggle movements are collecting fees in the range of “300” thousand pounds from each truck to get from Kosti to Al-Fasher, and explained that the movements justified this by meeting the requirements for fuel and miscellaneous items for their members and regular maintenance of the cars. Jamal added: “A great service provided by the armed struggle movements to trucks loaded with food supplies, medicines and fuel for Darfur, but the question is how long this situation will continue.”


Since the outbreak of the war between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces, the movement of citizens and the transport of goods between cities has been affected, and some took advantage of the absence of the government and the law, so they set up collection gates. Can the parties to the war stop the tampering of collections on the national roads and between the cities of Darfur, or will the situation remain like this?