Darfur war crimes suspect arrested

AFP Musa Hilal (centre) pictured in 2013

Sudan has arrested a milita chief described by a human rights group as “the poster child for Janjaweed atrocities in Darfur” – nine years after he was appointed as a government aide.

Musa Hilal was arrested by Sudan’s counter-insurgency forces after fierce fighting near his hometown in North Dafur.

The arrest was carried out by the Rapid Support Forces after the death of 10 of its members, including a commander, on Sunday, the Sudan Tribune reported.

He has been accused of being a leader in the pro-government Arab Janjaweed militia, which carried out a campaign of ethnic cleansing in Dafur in 2003 and 2004.

His militia were blamed for pillaging, rape, and scorching of villages in Darfur.

But Mr Hilal told the BBC’s Panorama programme in 2004 the accusations levelled at him had been “exaggerated”.

“Where are the graves and the bodies? Yes, there is death in this war. It is not as they exaggerate,” he said.

In 2008, he was made an aide to Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, leading Human Rights Watch to hit out at the decision, labeling him the “poster child for Janjaweed atrocities in Darfur”.

However, relations have soured in recent years, according to reports

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