By Shahid Khan
Darfur rebels and negative forces have lost their political and military vision, at the backdrop of military defeat on the ground, and political defeat in Darfur. The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) in number of resolutions, have classified them as “negative forces” as a result of their actions that pose threats to peace and security in the region.
Their unethical practices include, but not limited to, terrorizing of innocents and looting their prosperities in and outside Sudan. These negative movements were strongly involved in the ongoing war in the Republic of South Sudan, by aligning with South Sudan government in the war against the opposition. By that they committed numerous atrocities and human right violations including looting, robbing and killing of innocent civilians. During the revolution in Libya, they participated besides Gaddafi against the revolutionists. Remnants of their forces moved to the South western part of Libya which witnesses conflicts between warring Libyans parties.
Their presence in these turmoil borne areas created conducive environment to get involve in many illegal activities including drug smuggling, arm proliferation and trafficking, trans-border crimes namely human trafficking to Europe across the Mediterranean in addition to human right violations. The Libyan support to rebels has undoubtedly contributed in prolonging the war. Since the outbreak of Libyan revolution, Sudanese rebels got into the war beside Qaddafi against Libyan revolutionists. In return, they received money, weapons, ammunitions and other logistics.
The presence of these movements in Sudan, especially in the area Bou-zurig gateway north of Al-kufrah and Bezimah, has caused harassments to citizens. Additionally, their presence in the road linking Al-kufrah and Ajdabiya, which is supply route through which locals get their food items, oil and medicine; has always been an issue of concern. Adding to that, there has been high sense of dismay felt by people due to rebels’ activities of looting, robbery, abduction of citizens and demanding ransoms to release the abductees. Some documents were seized with captives and escapees of battles in Zeemah where Minawi’s rebels and Salih Jebel are based in mountain in a training camp designated for new recruits brought from Darfur.
Some documents revealed involvement of Minawi’s movement in looting oil-fields in Libya. Amongst the documents was a written memo by Jabir Ishag, the deputy general commander of Minawi’s force, about a four-phase plan. The plan includes “smuggle and sell oil in coordination with oil-field director in Al-Sirair area”. In addition to that, activities of car hijacking, looting gold miners on the Libyan Chadian Niger borders and other violations do continue taking place.
Libyan government agencies issued some statements confirming participation of Darfur rebel movements as mercenary in Libya. UN Convention against organized crime confined organized crime to terrorism, arms trafficking, attack on UN missions, disruption of development, looting of public properties, assaulting cities, money counterfeiting, drugs trafficking and cultivation, abduction, demand of ransoms and forceful recruitment. The African Union classified Darfur rebel movements as negative forces which had committed various forms of organized crime. And that their forces pose a direct threat to
The security and stability of the region, based on their recurrent participation in conflicts and wars in a number of countries. Behaviors of rebel movements have always been characterized by unjustified violence, criminality, serious violations of principles of war engagement principles and disrespect to humanitarian obligations.
The rebellions committed atrocities and created massive destruction in villages, cities and other infrastructure. In March 2015, some communications made by one of Tebbo tribe men called Koori; the Darfur rebel movements once again entered Libyan territories to participate in the ongoing fight between the warring parties. Koori is well known to have wide network of nexus and ties with African mercenary groups that work for money, weapons and vehicles. Darfur movements, although classified as negative forces by AU, have widely contributed in creating instability in a number of African countries through a rich history of participation in conflicts in various parts of the continent in turn for money and weapons.
Full – scale civil war is likely to erupt which would have an impact on the stability of the region as a whole”. He goes on “no one cares about Southern Libya and cities such as Al-kufra, Sabha where there are no international correspondents. These cities are significant enough to neighboring African countries Niger, Chad and Sudan, and represent a rear base for rebels of these countries, with rebel leaders still there”.
The document reinforces points raised by Mr. De Waal concerning the likely implications of the growing presence of Darfur movements in Libya. The document reveals plans and ambitions of these movements such as obtain oil from Al-sirair oil-fields, vehicles and gold from miners. A committee has been formed led by Jabir Isahaq Madi, a field commander in of SLA Minawi.
At the backdrop of their activities as negative forces that render their mercenary work for money, Darfur rebels pose a growing threat to stability and security architecture in the region. Their involvement with different warring parties in the Libyan conflict could only complicate and prolong the crisis. Additionally, they hinder efforts of the international community to put an end to the Libyan crisis.
The presence of these negative forces in Libya increases proliferation and trafficking of weapons to the depth of the continent. Undoubtedly, this could open the door to all possibilities including expansion of extremist and terrorist groups in Africa which would, in turn, pose a great menace at the backdrop many conflict zones. The international community should honor their responsibilities towards these negative forces cooperate with African Union to uproot them or to exercise pressures on them to abandon such serious activities and to demobilize their forces and engage in peace process to put an end to the suffering of the civilians in Darfur.
* The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Daily The Patriot’s editorial policy.