Over 800 new recruits of Sudan’s government-backed militia, the Popular Defense Forces (PDF), raided the state security services office in Al Kilik in South Kordofan on Tuesday.
The PDF troops evacuated all the staff from the premises and took control of the building to demand their salaries for the past four months.
In a bid to stage a protest against the Arab minority government, that relies heavily on oil supplies from the locality for its economy, the PDF troops also blocked the highway from Al Kilik to Khartoum. The route is often used for transportation of extracted oil to the north of the country.
A member of the PDF, who was recruited by the government in June, after the conflict broke out in South Kordofan, said that the government had initially given them orders and supplied weapons in order to guard the city of Al Kilik.
The PDF representative said that they were blocking the road which allows oil transportation and will only open the path when they are paid financial dues for four months of their service.
“Then they asked us to take part in the military operations in the Nuba mountains,” the PDF recruit, who doesn’t want to be named for security reasons, explained. “But we refused to do so because we didn’t want to attack our neighbors and be the government’s war agency.”
He explained that this was when they were denied financial compensation for their work and were accused of being ‘rebels’.
Compensation for farmers
The soldiers are also demanding for development of the region. “Farmers whose lands have been affected by the oil pipeline must be compensated. There should be medical staff in the hospitals,” he said. .
He also demanded that locals be employed in oil extraction companies that work in the region, instead of Arabs from the North.
Shelling in S Kordofan
The Sudanese Air Force (SAF) bombed Umm Durain locality of South Kordofan on Wednesday, a resident of the village said.
“The SAF air crafts made many flights over the sky and then dropped four bombs. It failed to hit citizens, so nobody was hurt. But it did spark fear among residents who fled for cover,” the citizen explained.
He said that the areas were experiencing shelling by the Sudan Armed Forces almost on a daily basis. An elderly woman reportedly died of a bombing in the region on Tuesday.