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Rights group slams Sudan naming of Darfur militia leader as government advisor

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] Sunday condemned the appointment of a suspected Janjaweed [Slate backgrounder] militia leader as an advisor to Sudan's Ministry of Federal Affairs and special advisor to President Omar El Bashir [BBC profile]. Musa Hilal is a tribal leader from northern Darfur [BBC report] and is suspected of running one of the 16 known Janjaweed bases. The Janjaweed are accused of committing atrocities and mass murders of Darfur civilians. Federal Affairs Minister Abdelbasit Sabderat told AP Monday that Hilal's appointment is already effective and that he will be handling tribal affairs throughout the Sudan [JURIST news archive]. HRW called the appointment of Hilal "a stunning affront" to victims [press release] of Janjaweed atrocities committed in Darfur [JURIST news archive].

Hilal was identified as an individual responsible for acts or abuses committed in Darfur in April 2006 when the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1672 [text; JURIST report], restricting his assets and international travel. Since fighting between the government-backed Janjaweed and ethnic African rebels began in 2003, over 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been forced into refugee camps. AP has more.

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