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Sudan: Fighters block major road, demand integration into official institutions

Sudanese march towards military headquarters in Khartoum, Sudan on 11 April 2019 [Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency]
Sudanese march towards military headquarters in Khartoum, Sudan on 11 April 2019 [Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency]

Protesters from the Popular Defence Forces (PDF) yesterday blocked a main road linking Khartoum and West Kordofan, western Sudan, calling on the government to meet their financial demands and integrate willing individuals into state institutions.

A statement issued by the High Committee for the Recovery of the Rights of State of West Kordofan’s Fighters, the coordinator on behalf the popular defence of the civilian component, said that the demands of the protesters include the settlement of the financial rights of the families of “martyrs and wounded” affiliated to the PDF and the integration of willing elements into state bodies.

On 17 April, the Transitional Military Council (TMC) issued a resolution, before its dismissal, to place the coordinators representing the civilian component, the PDF, the National Service and the local police force under the authority of military commanders.

READ: Sudan needs to tread carefully in its political transition

The committee’s statement stressed that the demands include “the integration of fighters, estimated at 45,000 in West Kordofan, who do not have the desire to serve in the army, in the community by granting them the resources to implement productive projects of economic feasibility and securing jobs in oil companies for them, in addition to the fair distribution of development projects according to the income of the different governorates.”

The statement continued: “The PDF elements have been fighting with the Sudanese Armed Forces for the past 30 years, sacrificing more than 7,746 martyrs and 30,000 wounded left with disabilities.”

The former regime, led by ousted President Omar Al-Bashir, used the PDF, which was established in the mid-1980s, to fight in conflicts during his rule.

On 21 August, Sudan began a 39-month transition period, ending with elections in which power would be shared by the disbanded junta and the forces of the Declaration of Freedom and Change, which led the popular protests.

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