Attacks on prisons in Sudanese capital free thousands of inmates

Kober Prison in Khartoum North (RD)


Thousands of prisoners in the Sudanese capital were freed after men wearing Rapid Support Forces (RSF) uniforms launched attacks on several prisons. Among the freed prisoners is Mohamed Adam ‘Tupac’, who was held in El Huda Prison in Omdurman.

In a statement on Saturday, Army Commander Abdelfattah El Burhan accused the RSF of storming the El Huda Prison and killing its guards. “The release of the inmates poses a grave security threat and illustrates the state of indiscipline the rebelling [RSF] forces have reached,” he said.

The commander of the RSF, Mohamed ‘Hemedti’ Dagalo, was quick to confirm that his forces did not attack the prisons. His media office had already denied “allegations circulating on social media regarding the forces’ storming of a prison and the release of prisoners”.

According to Hemedti, “The putschists and their collaborators tied to the ousted Al Bashir regime have launched a campaign of lies and misleading rumours to cover up their defeats on the battlefield.” He accused the army forces of disguising in RSF uniforms and carrying out criminal acts to blame the militia.

In an article published by Al Jazeera Net yesterday, Muzdalifa Osman reported that “although the RSF were quick to deny their connection to the attack on the El Huda Prison, and setting prisoners free, some of the escapees confirmed that the attackers belonged to the RSF, and that they wanted to free their comrades who had been sentenced for criminal cases”.

El Huda Prison, located north-west of Omdurman, is the second largest prison in the capital’s area, designed to accommodate 10,000 inmates.

Inmates of more prisons were freed. In central Omdurman, hundreds of women left the Omdurman Women Prison after it was bombed during violent clashes in the vicinity of the national radio and television building.

In Soba Prison, in the south-eastern part of Khartoum, inmates escaped as well. They staged “a stormy rebellion” since Saturday morning, protesting the lack of food and water for three days. “The doors were therefore opened for the prisoners,” eyewitnesses stated.

According to the testimony of one of the escapees in a video clip, the number of those released from Soba Prison reached 6,000 inmates. The Ministry of Interior has yet to issue any clarifications regarding these events, nor did officials respond to inquiries about the Soba Prison events.

Kober Prison

“With the successive reports of inmates escaping, all eyes turned towards Kober Prison [in Khartoum North], where several leaders of the former regime – who are being tried on charges of undermining the regime and seizing power in 1989- are being held,” Osman writes.

Press reports published on Saturday spoke of an RSF force launching an attack on Kober Prison on Tuesday, on the side where the leaders of the former regime are being held.

El Sudani newspaper reported that the attack aimed to kidnap the leaders of the ousted Omar Al Bashir regime from prison, but protection forces were able to repel the attack. The army command reportedly took over the security of the prison in anticipation of more attacks.

Earlier last week, former President Al Bashir and several his senior aides were transferred to an army hospital, allegedly based on a medical recommendation.

Mohamed Adam ‘Tupac’

After reports of the escape of El Huda prisoners, a member of the defence team of  Mohamed Adam, better known by his nickname Tupac, told Al Jazeera Net that they did not know the fate of their client who was held in El Huda Prison. 

Later, Nidal Suleiman – the mother of the accused – informed Al Jazeera Net that her son had arrived at the house after walking for many hours, and that they decided to keep him in a safe place until the situation stabilises, after which he will appear before the court and continue the case.

Tupac himself recounted in a video clip that the RSF attacked the prison and released all the inmates, stressing that he would not take advantage of the incident to escape and would return to detention until his case was completed and he and his comrades’ innocence was confirmed.

Radio Dabanga previously reported on the detainment of Tupac and two others who were held on January 14 last year on charges of killing a police officer and their subjection to torture in detention