In a move that Sudanese activists say has affected tens of thousands of civilians, the military has taken over the country’s security forces, according to the Washington Post. The move — which comes after what activists called human rights abuses such as mass killings, targeting journalists and arrests of political opponents — has tightened control over the country.
Details of the effort, described by the Wall Street Journal, are as follows: Sudanese armed forces have moved into the restive Western region of Darfur to increase their positions and will be deployed throughout the country in a “campaign to return stability.”
Meanwhile, African Union peacekeepers have launched a temporary halt in their patrols in Darfur, the Washington Post reported.
Many activists are concerned about the ultimate goal of the Sudanese security campaign: the return of President Omar al-Bashir, who faces war crimes charges at the International Criminal Court, The New York Times reports. He has not appeared in public in the Darfur region since April 2015, the Washington Post reports.
If the security effort succeeds, the Washington Post reports, Bashir’s return may be difficult, as the country is still wrestling with the unresolved issues of peace, elections and economic reform.
The situation is dangerous, according to the Post. Sudan has been the victim of terror threats and kidnappings for more than a decade. It is also being accused of exporting what many say is extremist thought and ideology to its neighbors, fueling terror attacks and often working to promote the concept of a “caliphate” across Africa, the Washington Post reports.
The Washington Post reports a similar move by the U.S. that, when it first happened, caused protests in East Africa. It’s not the first time Khartoum has taken control over the security forces – it has done so since 1989.
The writer, Adi M. Ali and the Post staff writer Alexandra Zavis contributed to this report.