Musa Hilal

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Musa Hilal
Musa Hilal.jpg
Full Name: Musa Hilal
Alias: Sudan's Renegade Sheikh
Origin: Khartoum, Sudan
Occupation: Emir of the Janjaweed (1987 - 2017)
Chief advisor of the Ministry of Federal Affairs (2008 - 2014)
Goals: Wipe out all non-Arabs in Darfur (failed)
Crimes: Genocide
War crimes
Crimes against humanity
Mass murder
Type of Villain: Genocidal Warlord

I am not a criminal. Thank God I’m not afraid. I’ve never had any fear.
~ Musa Hilal

Musa Hilal (Arabic: موسى هلال‎ Mūsa Hilāl) is a Sudanese Arab tribal chief and militia leader and adviser to the Sudanese Minister of Internal Affairs. His Um Jalul clan exercised tribal leadership of the Arab Mahamid tribe in Darfur. The Mahamid are part of a larger confederation of camel-herding (Abbala) tribes of the Northern Rizeigat. 

Hilal is the leader of the Janjaweed militia, which was responsible for a massive military campaign against civilians in Darfur in 2003, as part of a counterinsurgency effort against Darfur rebel groups. This would ultimately lead to the ongoing Darfur Genocide.

On 21 January 2008, the Federal Government of Sudan announced the nomination of Musa Hilal as the chief advisor of the Ministry of Federal Affairs in Sudan. This position allows Mr. Hilal to coordinate with regional leaders surrounding Darfur, as well as with Arab tribal groups, on the relations of the military regime.This political position further permits the military leader power over decisions made in Khartoum pertaining the recruitment of Janjaweed militias.

In January 2014 Hilal defected from Sudan's ruling National Congress Party, and launched a new movement known as the Sudanese Awakening Revolutionary Council. As of late March 2014 Hilal was running his own administration in North Darfur, with his troops controlling Saraf Umra town, Kutum town, Kabkabiya town, and the El Waha area.

He was arrested in November 2017. By the time Sudanese President and National Congress Party leader Omar al-Bashir was deposed April 2019, it was reported that Hilal still remained in prison.


Musa Hilal has been accused of inciting ethnic conflicts in some areas in Darfur. In the 1990s, he was imprisoned on criminal charges, which included the murder of 17 people of African descent, and the robbery of the Central Bank of Nyala. 

In 2003 Musa Hilal was sent to prison in Port Sudan by the governor of North Darfur, but was released in April 2003 supposedly on Vice President Ali Osman Taha’s orders and given the authority to recruit and command militia forces.

After his release Musa Hilal settled in Kebkabiya, where he supposedly organized a meeting to recruit Arab tribesmen from Awlad Rashid, Ireqat and Um Jalul. He is the leader of the Um Jalul tribe, which plays a major role in the attacks in Darfur. He has been named by victims, witnesses of the attacks, and member of the armed force, as second in command of the Janjaweed militias, “border intelligence brigade,” in Misteriya. He was reported to have met numerous times with militia leaders to coordinate other village attacks.

Musa Hilal has also been accused of kidnapping women and keeping them imprisoned in West Misteriya, at Jebel Jur Hilal. In 2006, the United Nations imposed travel and financial bans on Musa Hilal. Musa Hilal was quoted as saying, “the travel ban - that would be a humiliation. I am a tribal leader. My reputation comes above anything and everything.”

On February 27, 2008, Mr. Reeves reported the destruction of 30 villages, the assassination of 200 people, the rape of over 200 girls and women, and the kidnapping of 150 women and 200 children. These actions, Reeves argued, were executed by Janjaweed militias under direct order of militia leader, Musa Hilal.

The international pressure that has been building up over the Sudanese government to address the attacks against civilians may force the government to give up Musa Hilal to international authorities. Musa Hilal is said to hold enough information to pose a threat to the Sudanese government if the latter were to turn against him. Thus, the Sudanese government has often dismissed international criticism regarding its decision to promote Musa Hilal to adviser to Federal Affairs Minister Abdel Basit Sabderat. Sudanese President Al Bashir was quoted as saying, “[Musa Hilal] contributed greatly to stability and security in the region.”

In  December 2011 it was reported that Hilal's daughter, Amani Musa, was going to marry the president of Chad, Idriss Déby. The two were married on 21 January 2012.