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Draft bill to give Sudanese President sway over RSF militia

January 18 - 2017 KHARTOUM
Members of the Rapid Support Forces militia (File photo)
Members of the Rapid Support Forces militia (File photo)

On Monday, the Sudanese Parliament passed a draft of the Rapid Support Forces Act, that will give the President the power to appoint its commander and merge it with the national army as and when required.

MPs have expressed concern that the Act is not clear whether the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia will belong to the army. Defence Minister, Awad Bin Auf, responded that the Militia being under the instructions of the President is not unusual, citing the paramilitary Popular Defence Forces and National Service that are also under Presidential control.

The Commander of the RSF, Mohamed Hamdan ('Hemeti'), acknowledged that his militia committed violations against civilians in Darfur. He said in a press statement after the Act was passed: “We have become a semi-independent force” and pointed to the possibility of the development of his forces in the future and converting them into air or marine forces.

Abuses and violations

An RSF spokesman, Maj. Mohamed Saleh Abakar, revealed the involvement of officers and soldiers of the militia in abuses and violations, but did not disclose their nature, for whether they have been brought to military courts. He said the number of the rapid support militia exceeds 30,000.

The Darfuri resistance forces have denounced the controversial RSF militia, terming the Act, “codification and establishment of a second parallel army in the country”.

The Sudan Liberation Movement Minni Minawi faction (SLM-MM) military and security affairs advisor, Maj. Gen. Jaber Mohamed Hasaballah says he considers the Parliament’s passing of the Act as “a historic scandal and an end of the Sudanese army known for its bright history and excellent reputation”.


Background: Who are the Rapid Support Forces in Sudan?

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