Over the past 13 years nothing has been louder than deafening sounds of guns and intertribal conflicts in Darfur
. Joyful moments, wedding ceremonies were overshadowed by fighting and destruction. Despite the catastrophic consequences of guns, Darfurians view guns as token of power and leadership as carrying arms in the region has is rooted in local heritage and traditions.
Most complex mission
It is not for the first time for authorities to collect arms, widely spread across Darfur, as the proliferations of guns in the hands of civilians constitute a major threat to public peace and security. Accordingly, the government deems its decision on disbarment in Darfur as irreversible. The government has made clear at various occasions that it will no longer tolerate presence of arms in the hands of individuals other than the armed and other regular forces. Authorities concerned have threatened to deal harshly with any parties refusing to surrender their arms to the government and vowed to throw the book at whoever attempt to resist.
Observers hold that the presence of arms in the hands of both rebel movements and many inhabitants of the region poses amounting challenge to the state.
The Head of the parliamentarian committee on defense Gen. Al-Hadi Adam Yagoub admitted that proliferations of arms in Darfur not only constitute a heavy burden local authorities but also the national government, adding carrying unlicensed guns by individuals is feeding tribal conflicts in addition to banditry activities.
Gen. Yagoub confirmed that the Darfur disarmament process would take place at the same time across all Darfur states as well as other regions of Sudan, ruling out that the government would compensate residents for giving up their arms arguing that compensation would be viewed as trade and thus holders of arms might be tempted to surrender their weapons in return for money instead of doing so compulsorily or voluntarily.
a considerable number of Darfur native administration leaders have welcomed the immanent disarmament process, regarding the spread of firearms in the hands of civilians as posing threat to security to entire Sudan, adding that the past period has seen a remarkable stability thanks to public cooperation with authorities, adding that the use of weapons by diverse tribes in the region in banditry, robbery and most dangerously in tribal conflicts will serve no body harms the social fabric and coexistence in the region.
The native administration leaders further pointed to the smuggling of arms and vehicles into the region from neighboring countries, a reference to smuggling of cars from troubled Libya.
Ministry of Inferior
The ministry of interior on its part indicated that the government will use force if necessary to disarm civilians, adding that the authorities will also spare no efforts to impound all vehicles and cars being smuggled illegally into the country.
The Minister of Interior Hamid Mannan considered cars being smuggled into the country illegally as a real threat to the national economy, further describing vehicle smuggling operations as a new former illegal market in North Darfur capital El-Fashir known as "Suq Mawaseer", literally meaning hot items market.
The recent visit of the Vice-President to El-Fashir accompanied by the head of the parliamentarian committee on defense set the beginning of Darfur disarmament process as well as the impounding of unlicensed cars.
The disarmament committee called upon all residents in possession of illegal cars, bullets, weapons or other military ammunitions to surrender them to the joint forces, or parties or the nearest military unit or police station, warning that possession of arms by any party not affiliated to the regular forces will be intolerable.
Of note, the Vice-President Hassabo Mohamed Abdel-Rahman recently toured the five states of Darfur to launch national disarmament campaign, where he announced that concerned authorities have been granted necessary powers and green light to use force if necessary to carry through the disarmament program. "Arms will be collected in 72 hours here [Darfur]," Abdul Rahman said.
During his visit last year to Darfur, President Al Bashir revealed the government's resolve to disarm civilians – whether voluntarily or forcefully. It is to be noted that the president had said individuals who would willingly give up their arms to the armed forces would be compensated, a reward the ministry of interior had ruled out earlier in this report.
As result, many residents have voluntarily announced their readiness to surrender their weapons to turn over a new leaf in the chapter of Darfur history; however, others expressed their concern about the presence of arms in the hands of armed factions.
Small arms and weapons in Darfur account for about 2 million pieces and around 3,200,000 across Sudan, according to a previous UN report. But, there are no accurate and formal statistics about proliferation of small weapons across Darfur as yet.
Prior to the conflict, Darfurians used traditional arms for game, but recently many residents have turned out to be in possession of all types of modern weapons in addition four-wheel-drive vehicles and land-cruisers. According to reports, a single family in Darfur is reportedly in possession of least 3-5 pieces of weapons, the possession they [families] claim for self-defense.
Small arms proliferation is less in Khartoum, River Nile, Gezira and Northern states compared with other regions of Sudan, according a recent survey by Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission (DDRC), where as proliferation is widespread in border states of Gadarif, Kassala, Red Sea, Blue Nile and Darfur states, according to DDRC, which said that only 40 percent of such weapons are in the hands regular forces. Weapons are falling in the hands of 17-year-olds in Darfur, lamented the DDRC.