RSF seeks to protect Darfur people after UNAMID exit
According to the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) only Sudanese forces, consisting of the army, the RSF militia, the General Intelligence Service (GIS*), and the police will be responsible for protecting civilians after the withdrawal of the UNAMID peacekeeping force at the end of this year.
In his address during the opening of a UNAMID Training-of-Trainers workshop on human rights and international humanitarian law for RSF paramilitaries in the prestigious Coral Hotel in Khartoum on Monday, the head of the RSF Training Department, Brig Gen Mohamed Abbas, stated that “the Rapid Support Forces feel great responsibility to protect the people in Darfur after the departure of the UNAMID peacekeepers”.
“This requires that all RSF members are fully aware of everything related to international humanitarian law, human rights, child protection and protection of people in conflict areas,” he said.
In June, a news analysis of witness reports from North Darfur and East Jebel Marra showed that the RSF attacked towns, farms, and residents in Darfur at least 93 times from 2016 until this year.
The RSF, that grew out of the janjaweed militias which fought for the Sudanese government in Darfur since the war broke out 2003, is widely believed to be responsible for atrocities in the region. Activists hold the RSF also responsible for the violent break-up of the Khartoum sit-in on June 3 last year.
RSF members reportedly killed two farmers near the South Kordofan capital Kadugli last week.
Officially, the RSF, set up by the ousted Al Bashir regime in 2013, was integrated into the Sudan Armed Forces in August last year. At the same time, however, the militia stays a force unto itself. The militiahas reportedly built up a vast business empire that captures not only a large part of the country’s gold industry, but has huge interests in many sectors of the Sudanese economy as well.
The sit-in at Kalma camp near Nyala, capital of South Darfur, continued yesterday. The protesters demand that the joint United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) will not be withdrawn on December 31.
There will be a new UN mission in Sudan from January 1, 2021, but this United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission (UNITAMS) will not have a peacekeeping mandate. According to Prime Minister Hamdok, UNITAMS can be compared to the US Marshall Plan for western Europe after the Second World War.
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