According to Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (aka Hemeti), deputy chairman of the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and chief of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Sudan’s main militia, the people who shot protesters at the sit-in in front of the Sudanese army command in downtown Khartoum last week have been arrested.
In a press conference on Sunday, Hemeti said that “judicial confessions” of five attackers have been recorded.
Col Hugougi Khalid explained that 15 people have been arrested. Five of them have confessed that they shot at protesters at the sit-in “on Ramadan 8.
On May 13, members of “an unidentified militia group”, some say they belonged to the RSF, attacked people who were breaking their Ramadan fasting at the sit-in with live ammunition, batons and whips.
Three protestors and an army captain were killed instantly. The Sudanese Central Doctors Committee confirmed that 77 people were shot, while a total of more than 200 were injured. A 17-year-old youth succumbed to his bullet wounds in a hospital on Tuesday.
Hemeti further stressed the TMC’s “determination to hold accountable all spoilers among the leaders of the former regime”.
He explained that the leading members of the ousted regime, headed by Omar Al Bashir are now either in prison or hiding. “We will not leave those who fled, inside or outside the country,” he said.
The militia chief expressed his appreciation for the Alliance for Freedom and Change (AFC), and its role in the change that took place in the country.
“These brothers are well organised and make use of a high level of technology that exceeds even the state. They were able to oust country leaders who, without the AFC, may have ruled for another thirty years,” he said.
Sudan’s main militia
The RSF militia was created in 2013 to fight rebel movements throughout Sudan.
In January 2015, a constitutional amendment gave the militia the status of 'regular force'. Members of the RSF were issued identity cards of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), which ensured them immunity, Human Rights Watch reported in 2015.
The RSF was commanded on the ground by Brig Gen Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemeti’, former commander of the in Darfur notorious Border Guards militia, and Janjaweed leader.
The majority of the RSF troops consist of Darfuri Arab gunmen and militiamen, recruited by Hemeti since 2013. Ethnic Nuba have also reportedly been enlisted into the RSF. Sudanese who heard members of the RSF speaking, claimed that some of the fighters speak foreign dialects of Arabic, which they believe to be Chadian and Nigerian. In 2014-15 the RSF consisted of at least five to six thousand troops.
The RSF was integrated into the Sudanese army in 2017. The group used to be officially responsible for the persecution of illegal migrants and human smugglers.
According to Sudan watchers, the RSF have allegedly been receiving funds, though indirectly, from the EU.
In the combat against human trafficking and illegal migration to Europe, the European Commission granted a development aid package of €155 million to the Sudanese government in 2016 “to tackle the root causes of irregular migration in the country and improve migration management processes”.
In September 2018, Hemeti hit-out at the EU in for not thanking his forces for stopping illegal migrants at the border with Libya. The EU denied the allegations again.
Sudan also enjoys funding from Saudi Arabia since it joined the Saudi campaign against Iran-allied Houthi movement in Yemen in 2015. Most of the Sudanese troops fighting in Yemen belong to the RSF.