Pro-Government Militias

Pro-Government Militia Website

Documentation for Popular Defence Forces (PDF)

Nov. 10, 1989
BBC Summary of World Broadcasts

Umar al-Bashir noisily [word indistinct] that his terror squads expected to come mainly from the Muslim fundamentalist youth euphemistically referred to as the Popular Defence Force [PDF] (?to) deploy itself in the west and south-east of Sudan to help curbing the SPLA advance in those areas.
Anybody interested in Sudanese politics will note that this so-called PDF was the direct creation of the National Islamic Front [NIF] before Umar al-Bashir took over on 30th June this year. (...) The chief architect of this force was Dr Hasan al-Turabi, the leader of the NIF (…). The finances of this sectarian military force were and are still the Islamic banks in Sudan and abroad. (…) This force, therefore, is not a PDF as claimed by Umar al-Bashir, but rather an Islamic defence force created to wage a jihad, Islamic holy war, and nothing more (…) The so-called PDF is but another semi-autonomous battalion of the sectarian army that will be heavily armed by the NIF to replace the national army and to wage a jihad for total Islamisation of Sudan and Africa south of the Sahara. (…) All the youths that have been called upon to come and be enrolled in this sectarian army will have to become Muslims and members of the NIF (…) The PDF, therefore, if formed, will be charged with the task of curbing SPLA advances in Western and in Blue Nile provinces in accordance with Khartoum's policy of using civilians as shields for its soldiers against the SPLA.

Jan. 7, 1990
The New York Times

The accounts suggest that rules issued by the Bashir Government one month ago, calling for the registration of local militias, ''have expanded the violence rather than controlled it,'' an official said. The militias are now formalized under the new regulations and are acclaimed as ''popular defense forces .''
The resurgence of the Arab militias in the countryside coincides with a new, militantly Islamic posture by the Bashir Government. The junta has said that the judiciary should start imposing Islamic law, known as sharia, which calls for amputation as punishment for thieves .

March 19, 1991
BBC Summary of World Broadcasts

After one month of political work, SPLA forces of Bright Star Campaign phase four, sector one, have been joined by the government militia of the Fertit tribes, known previously as peace forces or the Popular Defence Forces [PDF] on 10th March 1991. The commander of the PDF in Bahr al-Ghazal, Brig Andreya Dominic Nafara, and his two deputies, Col Angello Taban Biajo and Col Anthony Fade Taban, formally joined the SPLA with all their forces and all their weapons. . . Adding the new force to those who had joined the SPLA earlier, this brings the total Fertit standing force to the SPLA to over 1,000-strong.

Jan. 26, 1992
The New York Times

The challenge posed by the Sudan was underlined after a visit to Khartoum last month by the Iranian President, Hashemi Rafsanjani, Western diplomats said. Iran agreed to grant military and economic assistance to the Sudan , thus extending to it the potential to not only consolidate its power at home but also to materially and morally promote Islamic groups elsewhere, the diplomats said.
In the last year, the Sudanese have accelerated the training of a paramilitary force of conscripted Government workers and university students, known as the Popular Defense Force. Officials acknowledge that it is modeled after and is receiving help from Iran's Revolutionary Guard .
As the Sudan hardens its Islamic rule at home, it is providing easy access, and apparently in some instances training installations, to international terrorist groups, the diplomats said.

March 5, 1992
BBC Summary of World Broadcasts

Khartoum, 2nd March A ''unit of volunteers'' of the Sudanese People's Defence Forces left Khartoum yesterday for southern Sudan to join the fighting against the rebel forces of the Sudanese People's Liberation Army, SPLA , the Sudanese government daily, 'Al-Sudan al-Hadith', reported today.
The People's Defence Forces are militias that have been created since the Sudanese military junta assumed power in June 1989. The enrolment of Sudanese students into the forces has become compulsory since the beginning of the present academic year .
Col Abd al-Qadir said at the ceremony that the Sudanese government's policy consisted of militarising the entire Sudanese people to ''defend Islam's faith, the homeland and property''.

May 26, 1992
The New York Times

The Government also raised an 85,000-strong militia, known as the Popular Defense Force , from the ranks of Islamic militants and declared a holy war against the rebels. The militia, which Western diplomats contend has high morale but little training, is now fighting alongside the army.

June 4, 1992
The Jerusalem Report

Khartoum, the impoverished capital of Sudan, where midday temperatures soar to 50 Celsius (120 Fahrenheit), is plastered with posters of Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani. In offices dotted around the sweltering city, air conditioning keeps officials of the Muslim fundamentalist regime cool as they confidently discuss extending their influence across Africa with the help of Iran, their new ally. U.S. officials in Khartoum say that since Rafsanjani's visit last December, $ 200 million in arms and supplies has poured in from Teheran. Iran has also sent in hundreds of officers to train Sudan's Popular Defense Forces, a new Islamic militia modeled on Iran's Revolutionary Guards . Teheran's contribution also includes $ 140 million in weapons bought from China, $ 30 million in credit, and $ 30 million worth of equipment army boots, uniforms, trucks and construction materials captured during the Iran-Iraq war.

May 2, 1993
The Independent (London)

Old democratic institutions have new Islamic rivals. At least two security services directly responsible to the NIF have joined the official Sudan Security, creating what a former minister calls a ''dictatorship without a dictator, a hydra with many heads''. The paramilitary Popular Defence Forces have been empowered and expanded, with compulsory conscription for all students and government employees - including ministers. The Popular Police Forces are portrayed by the government as a kind of neighbourhood watch, but viewed by foreign diplomats as a rival to, and check on, the regular police . Ordinary citizens fear the PPF will be a mirror image of Saudi Arabia's Mutawa, a specifically Islamic force.

Dec. 8, 1993
The Independent (London)

According to the documents, the most recent atrocities occurred in July when the Sudanese army drove a train loaded with locally-hired militiamen through territory held by the rebel Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA). Under the orders of an officer referred to in the papers as Captain xxx- commander of the People's Defence Force camps in the town of Muglad in southern Kordofan and a member of the Sudanese government council in the southern city of Wao - the militias were let loose on Dinka tribal villages along the length of the railway track, destroying every village to a depth of 10 miles (16km) on each side of the line, killing the men, raping the women and stealing thousands of head of cattle .
Evidence taken from tribesmen who fled the villages without their families includes details of the slaughter of a Christian wedding party of 300 people near the Lol river. Documents that have also been given to the UN allege that government troops, along with loyal tribal militias, massacred large numbers of southern Dinkas in a displaced persons' camp at Meiran last February .
The UN has also gathered evidence on the abduction of thousands of southern children - many of them Christians - on the streets of Khartoum. (…)
The evidence, which in some cases has been taken directly from 10- and 11-year-old boys who have escaped from the camps, states that the children are crowded into detention centres, given Muslim names and forced to learn the Koran before being sent south as auxiliaries to assist the army in its war with the SPLA .

Oct. 31, 1994
Deutsche Presse Agentur

The Khartoum government is preparing what it describes as "the final offensive" against rebels in southern Sudan in the civil war that started almost 30 years ago.
Between 15,000 and 18,000 men from the Popular Defence Force, a newly-created militia loyal to the fundamentalist leader Sheikh Hassan al-Turabi, are spearheading the offensive .
Scores of volunteer "holy warriors" from various Moslem nations, ranging from Afghanistan to Tunisia, are also fighting to eliminate what they regard as "the Cross-worshippers" of southern Sudan .

Dec. 21, 1995
BBC Summary of World Broadcasts

The Sudan People's Liberation Movement SPLM has affirmed that it repulsed at the beginning of this week a new attack against its positions by the militias of the National Islamic Front's NIF forces and its Popular Defence Force in the area of Kit, south of Fula south of Juba . The battles last Tuesday 12th December and Wednesday 13th December resulted in 156 killed and the (?capture) of 44 NIF militias, including First Lt Abdullah al-Mahdi, Lt Hajj Abdullah al-Nur and Lt Anwar Hasab al-Rasul.
The NIF militias were forced to retreat towards Juba .

June 21, 1996
Africa News

- In a report dated 22 April, the "Gazette" has received accounts of surprise attacks by a joint force of the Misiriya Arab"murahaleen" and the Popular Defence Forces (PDF) of the Khartoum regime upon the Dinka communities in the Abyei and Northern Gogrial areas. ...
The joint force launched its attack on 29 February along the River Kiir. The operation lasted until 3 March, by which timeseveral Dinka villages had been ransacked and burnt down. They are: Malwal, Rumbek, Nguet, Micar, Atong, Majok Alieu and Lang.Cattle was looted and crops were destroyed.
On 10 March, a further military force launched a second attackon other villages in the area, destroying Malual Alieu, Dier,Gongmabil, Rumnyien, Kokwei, Mabil Anyiuel and Kol Kuot. Thisforce was reinforced by units of the regular army stationed atAbyei. On 29 March, the attackers returned to the area in evengreater numbers. The attack was co-ordinated with the Nuer tribal militia from Bentiu. That militia had instructions to prevent anyDinka cattle from using the common grazing land, so that no Dinkacattle or property escaped the looters .

April 17, 1997
Africa News

The Sudanese army said that it was supported by the militia, called Popular Defence Forces, who counter-attacked the Ugandans from the rear "completely wiping them out, killing over 306 and destroying five tanks and capturing four others, all of them modern ."

April 8, 1998
BBC Summary of World Broadcasts

The [Islamic Salvation] Front militias suffered heavy losses in personnel and weapons with 25 killed, among them the leader of the People's Defence [Forces] militias [PDF] and the coordinator of the PDF in the area . Defences and military camp transport vehicles were destroyed: an Austin lorry, Land Cruiser truck [word indistinct].

June 1, 1998
Africa News

The current famine is one of the means for achieving this and direct attacks by its Popular Defence Forces (PDF) and Baggara Arab militias is another .(...)
I was in northern Bahr El Ghazal from 11 May to 21 May, a time in which I witnessed the execution of the NIF regime's well planned genocidal policies. In Aweil West county I saw 17,000 displaced and hungry women, children and elderly people whose villages had been destroyed by a joint force of the PDF and the Rizegat Arab militia from Southern Darfur. (...)
On 4 May the NIF regime's armed forces supported by the PDF and the Rizegat Arab militia launched an attack on Aweil West country (...)

Sept. 1, 1998
BBC Summary of World Broadcasts

The command of the People's Defence Forces [PDF] and the coordination office of the United People's Police [UPP] this morning organized a great victory ...

March 22, 1999
Africa News

The UN's Nairobi based Integrated Regional Information Network IRIN on March 2 quoted Achil Malith Bangol, the director of the NGO Sudan Production Aid, which is also based here, as saying that on February 26 a force of pro- government Popular Defence Forces militias mounted on horses attacked Akoch Payam, a village in northern Bahr al-Gazal .

March 16, 2000
Africa News

Christian Solidarity International (CSI) on Tuesday alleged that the pro- government Popular Defence Forces (PDF) enslaved 188 southern Sudanese women and children during raids on three villages in northern Bahr el Ghazal at the weekend. A PDF unit of some 1,300 men on horseback attacked Malith on 10 March, looting the village and enslaving an estimated 70 people after repelling the SPLA , CSI alleged in a statement. The unit then moved southwards and enslaved 50 people at Rup Deir before being repelled by the SPLA, it added

Nov. 1, 2001
Africa News

There have been reports from inside Sudan of 15,000 people on the move out of Raga, many moving from Daym Zubayr towards Tombura in the direction of Western Equatoria, and being actively pursued by People's Defence Forces (PDF) government militia , humanitarian sources told IRIN. It was difficult to confirm this information, the numbers of displaced, or the general run of events, because insecurity still prevailed in Western Bahr al-Ghazal, they added.

Sept. 26, 2002
Africa News

The Sudanese regular army based in the town of Damazin and the paramilitary People's Defence Forces had captured the town of Madal, Southern Blue Nile, on Monday inflicting "heavy casualties" on forces of the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) in the area, the Sudanese News Agency (SUNA) reported .

Dec. 31, 2003
Africa News

Peace conferences are being organised, and some of the Janjaweed have been recruited into the Popular Defence Forces (government paramilitary units) and border intelligence units in an attempt to give them a new role .

March 10, 2004
Africa News

Two uniformed men, who described themselves as members of the Popular Defence Forces (PDF) - paramilitary units used by the Sudanese government - told the eyewitness that they were new recruits waiting to be given arms. They, along with scores of others, camped in the town close to a military base for three or four days last week and then left.
The distinction between the army, PDF and Janjawid militias, all accused of committing atrocities against civilians, is at times blurred as the different groups often wear army uniforms, according to observers .

March 11, 2004
Africa News

Sudan; Special Report IV: Who is Who
Militias - Pro-government armed groups. Two main branches exist, northern and southern, which are responsible to distinct but complementary command structures. (...) The Popular Defence Forces (PDF) oversee the other northern militias, or Murahilin (meaning travellers), recruited among Arab nomadic communities such as Baqqarah (Arabic for cattle herders) from western and southern Kordofan. (...) The Murahilin were absorbed by the PDF after Bashir took over power in 1989, (...).
Popular Defence Forces (PDF) - Paramilitary units organised by the government in 1989. In 1994, PDF training camps were established for all young people of university age, political indoctrination being an important aspect. It was initially envisioned that the PDF would eventually replace the national army as the country's main defence arm.

Aug. 15, 2004
Sunday Telegraph (London)

The military instruction from Sudanese army officers is part of Khartoum's clandestine efforts to integrate the Janjaweed militia into paramilitary security forces in Darfur .
Across Darfur, Janjaweed have been put into the uniforms of the paramilitary Public Defence Force (PDF) and police in recent weeks as the Arab-dominated authorities attempt to disguise the role of the militia that they created but are now struggling to control .

March 3, 2005
The Independent (London)

the government had the ability to disarm the PDF - a paramilitary group that is part of the Janjaweed - if it chose to do so. He said: "They The government are the ones that gave the PDF guns. They're the ones that recruited the PDF; they're the ones that pay their salaries; they give them their ID cards. They can disarm them or they can leave them alone; that's the government's concern ."
He added that the army had been responsible for attacks against civilians, saying: "All of the people in the field are led by top army commanders ... These people get their orders from the western command centre, and from Khartoum."

April 27, 2006
Africa News

"A lot of attacks have been taking place in a very short time," a source in the region - who requested anonymity - said. "What seems to be happening is a coordinated offensive of the Sudanese armed forces, the Janjawid militia and PDF [Popular Defence Force, local militia] to retake Gereida [a town 110 km southeast of South Darfur's capital, Nyala ]."

Feb. 17, 2007
BBC Monitoring Middle East - Political

A noisy demonstration by the Popular Defence Forces [PDF, paramilitary force] in Kadugli, capital of the Southern Kordofan State [central Sudan] on Thursday 15 February was reminiscent of the war times .