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Clashes as RSF, Border Guards tensions erupt

November 10 - 2017 KORMA / EL FASHER
Members of the Border Guards militia meet in Mistariha in North Darfur on 12 August, 2017 (RAC)
Members of the Border Guards militia meet in Mistariha in North Darfur on 12 August, 2017 (RAC)

Large clashes took place between two of Sudan's paramilitary forces, the Rapid Support Forces and the Border Guards, near Korma today. Their leaders have not revealed the casualty number.

Eyewitnesses in Korma in North Darfur told Radio Dabanga that fighting broke out in Amar Jadeed, Eshbara, Kela and Niro. They heard explosions and gunfire coming from these areas from morning until after the Friday prayers ended.

The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) spokesman, Col. Abdelrahman El Jaali, confirmed the clash in Korma, which is 12 kilometres west of El Fasher. In a statement to the official Sudanese news agency (Suna) he said that they managed to arrest nine Border Guards members and seized their military equipment.

He said that a number of militiamen were killed when the RSF pursued them up to the outskirts of Kutum. The RSF still give chase to the Border Guards members who managed to flee. “We will work to clean up all Darfur states from the infiltrators, especially those in the cities.”

Rapid Support militia chases Ali Rizgallah Safana forces to Kutum

The Border Guards members in question serve under Lt. Col. Ali Rizgallah (nicknamed Safana), who recently declared a rebellion against Khartoum and defected from Sudan's chain of command. Rizgallah 'Safana' refuses to integrate his forces in the RSF, as part of a currently ongoing disarmament campaign in Darfur.

RSF commander Mohamed Hamdan 'Hemeti' told reporters today that one of the caught fighters is a deputy of the Safana Border Guards. All nine captured men have been transferred to El Fasher, and from there they will be transferred to Khartoum.

Attack in Kutum

On Friday afternoon Rizgallah and his forces came under attack by RSF in Eshbara, on the road between Kutum and Kabkabiya, south of Kutum. He briefly spoke to Radio Dabanga but did not answer questions about the number of casualties.

Meanwhile the spokesman of the Revolutionary Awakening Council, led by former janjaweed leader Musa Hilal, commented that the circumstances of the clash between the RSF and Safana's Border Guards are unknown. “We do not know the extent of the casualties because it occurred in a remote area,” said spokesman Mohamad Abekar.

Starting mid-August, verbal clashes between Hilal and Sudan's Second Vice-President Hassabo Abdelrahman have threatened to escalate tensions between Sudan's two paramilitary forces under the command of Hilal and Hemeti in North Darfur.

Hilal also strongly opposes the planned integration of the Darfuri Border Guards into the RSF. “I was the one who established and presented the Border Guards initiative to the army in Darfur to defeat the rebellion,” the Mahameed clan chief told Radio Dabanga in August.

Defectors

Last week, about 120 defectors from the Ali Rizgallah group of Border Guards which rebel against the government, announced that they will join the RSF. El Haj Ali Widaa led the group to El Fasher.

On paper the Border Guards are under nominal government command and used to be a government militia in Darfur. Its members are affiliated with founder and former janjaweed leader Musa Hilal, backed by Khartoum, until he distanced himself from the government in mid 2013. Hilal holds control of the gold-mining area Jebel Amer and Saraf Omra.


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