A series of reconciliation deals have sought to end the fighting in Darfur, but opponents say they do not go far enough, and that they have been punished for saying so.

When one of Sudan’s most powerful paramilitary leaders returned for peace talks in his stronghold of Darfur, not everyone was on board.

The leader of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Mohamad Hamdan Dagalo or “Hemeti”, reached several reconciliation deals earlier this year, including some with his rivals

to end the intermittent fighting that has blighted the region over the past year. A wider agreement was also signed between the military and political parties in December.

But many Sudanese have protested or criticised the deals, demanding that members of Hemeti’s own Rzeigat Arab tribe and the RSF face punishment for their alleged role in killing hundreds of people

“I went inside a big intelligence office. The [RSF] had a lot of questions about who I am and why I don’t want peace and stability,” said Faisal, 25, who added that he had spent three days in prison

According to the Darfur Bar Association, approximately 350 people were detained without charge across the province between June and August.

Dozens, including Faisal, have been released. But the legal group says that many are still languishing in prison for their real or perceived rejection of Hemeti’s reconciliation agreements.