RSF recaptures North Kordofan town

Picture taken from the road between Um Rawaba and El Obeid in North Kordofan (File photo: Sari Omer)

The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) said it seized control of Um Rawaba, North Kordofan, yesterday. Residents report multiple attacks by the RSF and allied armed groups on surrounding villages, which have led to scores of deaths, injuries, and extensive property damage. The RSF denies involvement, attributing the violence to their rival, the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), and remnants of the former regime.

The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) announced yesterday on X (formerly Twitter) that they “established control” over the Um Rawaba area in North Kordofan.

The security situation in Um Rawaba has been unstable since Thursday, according to listeners in the area. They told Dabanga that the Um Rawaba Grand Market was subjected to extensive plundering: “Gunmen affiliated with the RSF robbed a resident at gunpoint and fired at him in the market, and the RSF is imposing heavy taxes on all merchants.”

A health centre in Um Rawaba was allegedly also targeted on Thursday. Assailants plundered medical equipment and medications, locals have said.

Um Rawaba is witnessing a large wave of displacement to the northern and eastern areas of the town following clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the RSF on May 7. Sources told Radio Dabanga that civilians are “travelling long distances on foot or in carts to reach safer areas”.

The RSF has reportedly detained several people and prevented them from travelling within and out of Um Rawaba on Friday morning. This includes travellers coming from El Obeid, the state capital, travelling east towards Tandalti.

Residents said that villages around Um Rawaba have witnessed widespread violations over the past two weeks. They accused “deviants who belong to the RSF” of perpetrating violence “including killing, plundering, burning homes, and displacing residents”.

El Rahmaniya, a village northwest of Um Rawaba, was attacked by the RSF on Saturday. At least 15 people were killed in the attack, while several others were injured, and scores of houses torched, according to local sources. “We are unable to estimate the total number of victims due to the imposed RSF siege on the area”, a source in the area said. Some locals called the attacks “ethnically motivated”.

In a statement on Facebook yesterday, Er Rahad Resistance Committees accused the RSF of attacking El Rahmaniya, echoing the difficulty in determining the real victim count due to the siege.

Multiple sources have reported that the village of Sheikh Mukhtar, east of Um Rawaba, was attacked by gunmen affiliated with the RSF on May 8. “The attackers robbed shops, burned more than 20 houses, and stole cows, causing the village’s residents to flee to nearby safe areas”, a resident said. A civilian named as Abdallah El Day was allegedy killed inside his home by unknown assailants in Sheikh Mukhtar on May 10.

Sources also indicated that villages surrounding the road linking Wad Ashana and Um Rawaba were subjected to multiple attacks by the RSF. “These villages are facing extremely complex humanitarian conditions due to an acute shortage of food supplies.”

The villages of El Balahat and Ghabsha El Mahata, east of Um Rawaba, were reportedly subjected to plunders targeting livestock, causing a large displacement wave of residents fleeing to safer villages.

In repeated statements to Radio Dabanga, the RSF has continued to deny their involvement in any attacks on civilians in North Kordofan, accusing military intelligence and members of the former regime instead.