Darfur Conflict: Meet a New Hope For Peace, Musa Hilal
Founder of the Border Guard Forces (BGF) Musa Hilal embarked on a tour to the conflicted Darfur region for the first time since 2017. He visited the Arab tribal territories in North Darfur state in a bid to end the ongoing conflict which dates back to the 1990s.
Musa Hilal, who is the tribal leader of the ethnic group Mahameed, talked with the local leaders in Al-Koma and Kutum areas of North Darfur. He stressed the need to end hostilities and bloodshed. Musa Hilal had supported the government in 2003, fighting non-Arab armed groups. But the respected tribal chief and his Janjaweed (the Popular Defense Forces) were accused of grave human rights abuse, war crimes and rape.
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About 300,000 people were killed in the bloody conflict between 2003 and 2009 Darfur genocide timeline, and about 2.5 million people have been displaced. Musa Hilal defended his group saying they defended their lands and supported the government’s call to strengthen defense against the non-Arab rebels.
He was detained in 2017 and deported to Khartoum by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Musa Hilal attributed his arrest to refusing to be part of an arms collection campaign mandated by former President Omer Bashir. He said the government ordered the RSF to take him out.
Since then, more rebel groups have emerged in the Darfur conflict. Some have signed a peace deal with authorities and now have positions in the government.Tension remains between the BGF, a predominantly Arab group, and RSF.
Musa Hilal Key to Darfur Peace
Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, reversed the integration of BGF into the paramilitary forces earlier this year in April. There are also divisions between the Rizayqat, the Mahamid, and the Mahariya. Tensions accelerated in 2017.
But Musa Hilal has managed to retain his followers and supporters. He wants to bring the 20 years of war to end. However, local, regional and international efforts to broker a ceasefire and peace deal for the Darfur conflict have failed.
And now the conflict in Sudan has made the Darfur conflict complicated. The region is violent and high chances of a full-out war breaking out.