El Burhan tours northern Sudan, says RSF involved in June 3 sit-in massacre

Army commander Abdelfattah El Burhan in Atbara, September 30 (Photo:: Sudan Armed Forces)

The head of the Sovereignty Council and commander of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, says that the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) were involved in the violent dispersal of the large sit-in in front of the army command in central Khartoum on June 3, four years ago. Lawyer El Moez Hadrat considers El Burhan’s accusation “a strong personal confession that could have him convicted”.

Addressing military leaders in Atbara in Rive Nile state on Saturday, El Burhan accused the RSF of viewing the Sudanese nation after the ousting of Omar al Bashir in April 2019 as “a booty of which they would take their share”.

Their demands clearly exceed national civilian and military projects such as the Zadna International Company for Investment, the Ariab Mining Company, and other military and civilian projects, he said.

He added that the repeated social media messages by the RSF on democracy and justice is “misleading and false”.

El Burhan further accused the RSF of being involved in the June 2019 June 3 massacre, when government forces violently dispersed the sit-in set up by pro-democracy activists in from of the SAF General Command in Khartoum five days before the ousting of President Omar Al Bashir on April 11 that year. The mass attack started in the early hours of June 3, which was the eve of the last day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. 

More than 127 protesters were killed, at least 700 people were injured, and over 100 others went missing. 

This is the first accusation of its kind by the SAF leader against the RSF. Last month, Hemedti accused El Burhan of releasing army officers accused of being involved in the sit-in massacre.

Human Rights Watch said in a report on November 17, 2019 that the attacks on the demonstrators at the sit-in were “systematic and may amount to crimes against humanity,” while the Sudan Central Doctors Committee reported that the Rapid Support militias threw the bodies of protesters in the Blue Nile, where 40 bodies were found floating.

‘Personal opinion’

Prominent human rights defender and head of the committee that investigated the June 3 massacre in central Khartoum reacted to the speech by saying that “El Burhan expressed his personal opinion, which is not binding for the committee”.

Adib told Radio Dabanga that investigation committee, formed by the then Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok in accordance with the provisions of the 2019 Constitutional Document, is “fully independent”. The committee was granted criminal investigation powers by the Public Prosecutor in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Code. “It is up to the competent court to decide whether the accusations are valid or not”.

The lawyer confirmed that the committee has not yet completed the investigation. “We are still awaiting expert reports on the various video and audio recordings of the violence.”

Retd Supreme Court Judge Abdallah Zamrawi commented on El Burhan’s words in a post on X (formerly Twitter) and stated that “the Sudanese people will soon know who gave the orders to break up the sit-in at the General Command now the criminal thieves El Burhan and Hemedti are fighting each other.

“Knowing those responsible for that massacre and holding them legally and morally responsible is the first way to recover from this huge massacre – which will never be forgotten nor forgiven.”


Lawyer El Moez Hadrat considers El Burhan’s accusation as “a strong personal confession that could have him convicted”.

He called on the investigation committee into the crime of dispersing the sit-in to lodge a criminal complaint against El Burhan and other military commanders  “because this confession is almost sufficient”.

“El Burhan was head of the Transitional Military Council when the crime was committed while the council represented the highest authority in Sudan,” El Moez said. “He denied more than once the connection of the SAF and RSF with the June 3 massacre, and now he accuses the RSF. Another question is why has El Burhan been silent on the RSF involvement for the past four years?”

Army Lt Gen Shamseldin Kabbashi, spokesperson for the Military Council at the time, admitted in July 2019 that there had been an “error in the implementation of the security operation against the sit-in on June 3.


In his speech on Saturday, El Burhan said he holds RSF Commander Mohamed ‘Hemedti’ Dagalo and his deputy, Abdelrahim Dagalo, the “two brothers who only care about their own interests”, responsible for the war.

He said the army would certainly win the battle. “We are confident of victory in the battle for dignity thanks to the people’s support. This army is the army of the fatherland and there is no side or party that has power over it.”

El Burhan further directed the government of River Nile state to start the new school year, regularise the educational process, and open the schools “in order to avoid a disruption of the school year”.

On Sunday, El Burhan arrived in Dongola, capital of Northern State “as part of his field visits to the states”. The state’s state security briefed him about the situation in the region, especially the security situation. 

The army commander also visited Dongola Military Hospital and the town’s dialysis centre.

Radio Dabanga reported on Thursday that SAF commander  Abdelfattah El Burhan and RSF leader Mohamed ‘Hemedti’ Dagalo had arrived in Saudi Arabia, raising hope for the country’s population that the fighting would come to an end soon. No reports followed, so the news may have been a hoax.