Title: Musa Hilal’s insurgency
Author: Sudan Democracy First Group
Date: 03-17-2014, 04:20 PM
Sudan Democracy First Group-In recent months Musa Hilal, the leader of Umjallul/Mahameed ethnic group in North Darfur, has emerged as serious threat to the government. In late February, Hilal’s militia attacked a Central Reserve Force (CRF) convoy near Kutum, killing 34 members. In early 2013, Hilal was implicated in the tribal clashes between Reizegat and Beni Hussein over control of the gold mines in Jebel Amir, some 200 kilometres north-west of Al Fashir. Hundreds of people were killed and tens of thousands displaced. This week, Musa Hilal’s militia attacked Saraf Omra locality in North Darfur, displacing and the killing a large number of civilians.
Since December 2012, Musa Hilal has had a hostile relationship with the Governor of North Darfur, Osman Yusif Kibir and his Berti ethnic group. He has accused the governor of failing to fulfill his 2010 election promises. More importantly, Hilal has ambitions to rule North Darfur. In 2013, he officially defected from the National Congress Party (NCP) and announced the establishment of a new political movement called the Sudanese Awakening Revolutionary Council.
On 10 March, the Awakening Revolutionary Council strongly condemned the violence in Darfur, saying it “undermined the social fabric”. The statement blamed the government for rejecting the Council’s reconciliation efforts. Although the objectives of the Council are vague and ill-defined, Hilal appears to favour reconciliation with his old enemies, the Darfur rebel groups, and he called for reform, peace and reconciliation across Sudan.
Yet, Hilal has many identities: tribal leader, politician, militia leader, former armed robber, peace-maker and now rebel leader. His actions, rather than his words, reveal the person he tries to conceal, a modern day warlord in a weak state, and strong shareholder in the privatised violence enterprise in Darfur. He was contracted by the government in 2003 in the counterinsurgency plan that led to the death of hundreds of thousands, the displacement of millions, and the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrants for President al-Bashir and other GoS officials. In 2006, the UN Security Council imposed a travel ban and asset freeze on Hilal because of allegations of involvement in human rights abuses. In 2014, Musa Hilal reincarnated himself as fighter for the dispossessed and oppressed in Darfur, calling for the voluntary return of IDPs to their homes. It remains to be seen whether Hilal’s new image is genuine.