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Popular pressure pauses planned RSF training camp on Sudan’s Red Sea coast

May 23 - 2022 RED SEA COAST
Sudan's Red Sea coast (File photo)
Sudan's Red Sea coast (File photo)

A decision to grant land to Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) to establish a training camp on the Red Sea coast has been suspended after residents of the area raised several objections.

The decision issued at the end of last week indicated that dozens of people objected to the establishment of an RSF training camp in the Agwatiri Mersa area in Jabiet El Maadin on the Red Sea coast.

Welcoming the decision, the High Council of the Beja said in a statement that “the Red Sea coast is not for sale or setting up camps”. The council added that “eastern Sudan needs development and does not need camps.” The Nazirs affirmed the readiness of the people of eastern Sudan to protect their region from “all kinds of colonisation”.

Sudan’s Red Sea coast has also seen international naval attention recently. In February 2021, a rapid transport ship of the US Military Maritime Transport Command USNS Carson City arrived at Port Sudan harbour “to enhance maritime security in the region”. In March 2021, Port Sudan received visits from both US and Russian warships.

Red Sea naval base

Moscow is keen to establish a naval base in the Red Sea. In December 2020, Russia signed an agreement with Sudan to establish a naval base in Port Sudan for at least 25 years. The deal, published on the official portal of government documents, allows Russia to keep up to four navy ships in the Red Sea, including nuclear powered ones.

The agreement can be automatically extended for 10 year periods if none of the parties object.

The document states that the Russian navy base should “help strengthen peace and stability in the region” and is not directed against any third parties. In exchange for Sudan’s permission to set up the base, Russia will provide Sudan with weapons and military equipment.

During his visit to Moscow in March this year, Deputy Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council and commander of the RSF, Gen Mohamed Hamdan 'Hemeti' Dagalo, said that Sudan would let Russia, or any other country open a naval base on the 730-kilometre Red Sea coast, provided that it would not threaten Sudan’s national security.

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