Monday, September 27, 2010

Khartoum state to crack down on illegal possession of weapons

September 26, 2010 (KHARTOUM) – The governor of Khartoum state Abdel-Rahman Al-Khidir revealed that authorities in the capital has began a campaign to collect illegal weapons in line with a presidential order in this regard.

According to Al-Khidir, who was quoted by the independent Al-Sahafa newspaper, all citizens are encouraged to voluntarily hand over any unlicensed weapons they have by October 17 or else they will face severe penalties. The governor said that by December 20th he hopes to declare Khartoum an “arms free state”.

He further said that meetings were held with the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM), Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-Minnawi), Eastern Front and other armed groups which have signed agreements with the government to discuss the new rules.

However, the governor did not elaborate what the status of these armed groups in Khartoum would be. The presidential directive, he added would also apply to government militias such as the Popular Defense Forces (PDF) and popular police.

He warned that Khartoum state would not tolerate any violations to the new rules particularly regarding the presence of weapons in residential areas.

Separately, the governor stressed that the state is prepared for any violence that may erupt after the South Sudan referendum results are announced. He recalled the events in the capital that took place after the death of SPLM chairman John Garang in 2005 and said that the authorities have learned their lesson from these incidents.

Al-Khidir said he believes that even though SPLM leaders are in favor of secession, the majority of Southerners in Khartoum are in favor of unity.

This week the Sudanese information minister Kamal Obeid said that Southerners in the North will not enjoy citizenship rights if separation is the choice made in the referendum.

"They will not enjoy citizenship rights, jobs or benefits, they will not be allowed to buy or sell in Khartoum market and they will not treated in hospitals," Obeid said in statements carried by public radio.

"We will not even give them a needle in the hospital," he added.

The remarks drew strong rebuke from the SPLM and several political analysts.