The head of the Sovereignty Council, commander of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), and head of the ruling military junta, Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, abruptly postponed a visit to El Fasher, capital of North Darfur on Sunday, citing ‘security concerns’.
Gen El Burhan was due to attend a military graduation ceremony of a joint security force with the Vice-President of the Sovereignty Council and head of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo ‘Hemeti, members of the Sovereignty Council, and former rebel leaders El Hadi Idris and El Taher Hajar.
The graduation ceremony in El Fasher of a joint security force of about 2,000 soldiers, some drawn from former rebel combatants, was instead presided over by Hemeti.
The governor of the Darfur region, Minni Arko Minawi, the Minister of Defence and the Saudi ambassador, also arrived from Khartoum, along with the leaders of the armed struggle movements.
Warning ‘for enemies of peace’
During his address to the graduation ceremony, Hemeti accused those he described as “enemies abroad” of obstructing the peace process, stressing that his forces “adhere to peace even if this will lead to war”.
He called on the non-signatories to and Juba Peace Agreement (JPA) signed in the South Sudanese capital on October 3, 2020, “to join the path of peace in order to turn the page on war”.
He attributed the spread of violence to the spread of racism and regionalism, calling for their cessation, the prosecution of criminals, and the extension of the Rule of Law.
A call to renounce tribalism
Hemeti further called on the newly graduated force to protect civilians, and stressed the rejection of tribalism and the protection of Sudan in cooperation with the regular forces in the spirit of one team to help the Darfur community, ensure the return of the displaced, open paths and strengthen the social fabric among the components of Darfur.
He answered “spoilers” accusing the RSF of committing crimes against civilians bt stressing that the RSF are “national forces of construction that fall under the command of the SAF and include more than 102 tribes”.
He stressed that the reconciliations that were implemented between the tribes in West Darfur are real and not political, pointing out that they were signed voluntarily between the conflicting parties voluntarily.
He accused the international community of not abiding by its promises to support peace, calling on the Friends of Sudan to support Sudan.
Troops out of El Fasher
The RSF commander announced his donation of a full month’s salary to the batch, stressing the need for all forces to leave El Fasher and to deploy the police inside the city to preserve the safety and security of its population.
Minawi: Peace begins with commissions
The Governor of Darfur region and former rebel leader Minni Arko Minawi said that the implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement begins with the formation of peace implementation mechanisms, including commissions, especially the Reconciliation Commission, the Transitional Justice Commission, the Land Commission, and the Commission for Supporting the Return of Displaced People and Refugees.
He called for the immediate start of the formation of these commissions, and the government’s commitment to the provisions of the Juba Peace Agreement regarding its share in financing the development of Darfur.
Message for the Troika
Minawi sent a message to the members of the Troika countries (Norway. UK, USA) who boycotted the ceremony, saying that this ceremony does not represent the government of Sudan or the former National Congress Party regime, but rather the victims. He called on the international community to help Darfur, which he said is beginning to recover from the genocide.
He warned that the lack of dialogue between the components of the Sudanese people will lead to the division of the country and called for building confidence through a Sudanese mechanism for dialogue that represents diversity.
He said that the fall of El Bashir does not represent a solution to Sudan’s problems, but rather an opportunity to raise the accumulated problems together, and stressed that “the passage towards democracy passes through compromises between the various groups of the people”.
Violence by armed forces
The presence of regular armed forces in Darfur is controversial. Members of the Sudanese army, led by Chairman of the Sovereignty Council Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, or the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), led by Vice-Chairman of the Sovereignty Council Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemeti’ Dagalo, are often associated with ongoing incidents of violence against local farmers and displaced people.