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The New Arab Staff

Sudan fires Darfur officials as anti-militia sit-in continues

Solidarity demonstrations have been held in the Sudanese capital Khartoum [Getty]

Date of publication: 7 July, 2020

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Hundreds of demonstrators have been gathered in Nertiti, Central Darfur, calling for an end to violence by 'state sanctioned' armed groups.
Sudanese authorities have fired military and security officials in Central Darfur, where locals have been gathered for a sit-in protesting against militia violence for nearly two weeks.

Hundreds of demonstrators, most of them refugees, have been holding a sit-in in the town of Nertiti calling for the resignation of local security officials and a halt to attacks by armed groups.

Despite a ceasefire agreed between the Sudanese transitional government and rebel groups last year, rights activists report continued attacks on civilians, including rape.

Residents of Darfur say state-sanctioned militias and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) are behind the violence.

Following talks with protesters from Sunday, Khartoum sacked Nertiti's police director, local military commander and the head of the town's intelligence unit, the local police director, the military commander and the head of the intelligence unit in Nertiti, an official said.

A local judge was also fired in response to the ongoing sit-in, the official told The Sudan Tribune on condition of anonymity.
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Mohammad Hassan Al-Taishi, a member of the ruling sovereign council, pledged on Monday to implement all of the protesters' demands.

Justice Minister Nasr al-Din Abdel Bari added that a district court would be established in Nertiti among steps to strengthen the rule of law in the area.

Demonstrators have also pointed to the urgent need for the replacement of military governors with civilians. The continuing presence of military authorities has resulted in ongoing rights violations mirroring those that took place under ousted leader Omar al-Bashir, critics argue. 

The military agreed to civilian governors during negotiations with protest leaders last year but the measure is one of a number of agreed steps yet to be taken by the transitional regime.

Khartoum has agreed to replace the local governor, a representative of the Nertiti sit-in told Radio Dabanga. The government is expected to announce the appointment of civilian governors across the country next week, the Sudanese outlet reported.

The western Darfur region remains scarred by war nearly two decades after an armed rebellion broke out in 2003. Rebel militants were met with a heavy handed response from the Bashir regime, with Darfuri civilians suffering much of the violence and displacement meted out by state-backed militias.

Bashir, imprisoned since his ousting in April last year, is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. 

Two other former Sudanese regime officials are sought by the ICC, along with a former rebel leader. All three are currently held in prison, according to transitional authorities.

A fifth indictee, former militia leader Ali Kushayb, handed himself over the court last month.

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