Sudan’s armed forces deployed in Darfur as violence spikes

Sudan’s Prime Minister has announced that a joint force of army soldiers, members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia, and security officers will be deployed in Darfur following a spike in violence in the region.

Sudan’s Prime Minister has announced that a joint force of army soldiers, members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia, and security officers will be deployed in Darfur following a spike in violence in the region.

The forces will be sent to all five Darfur states to protect the public from attacks and secure the current agricultural season.

The decision was announced yesterday by Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, during a meeting with a delegation of coordinators of the Darfur Women Forum.

Unidentified gunmen killed at least 65 people in West Darfur on 25 July. Members of the RSF were allegedly among the attackers. At least 15 people were killed in South Darfur on 23 July by armed men riding camels and horses.

Sarah Mustafa, Darfur Women Forum Coordinator, said that the meeting with the prime minster focused on the need to secure the food supply in the region. She said they “focused on the situation in the states of Darfur, and the need to achieve security and stability in order for the agricultural season to succeed.”

“Attacks and clashes, in the middle of the agricultural season, are compounding growing humanitarian needs” according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Sudan. Across all Darfur states, nearly 2.8 million people are estimated to experience severe food insecurity from June to September, more than 545,000 of them in West Darfur alone.

Security and Defence Council

The Security and Defence Council also met yesterday at the Republican Palace. The meeting, which was chaired by Deputy-Chairman of the Sovereign Council, Lt Gen Hemeti, in the presence of Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, stressed the need to urgently distribute forces to unstable regions in the country.

The meeting of the Security and Defence Council discussed imposing Rule of Law by force to preserve lives and property, stopping attacks by outlaws, and implementing a plan to protect civilians. The need to activate the role of joint security forces in carrying out security measures and strengthen the role of law enforcement agencies to prevent impunity for crimes committed was also stressed.

Police Lt Gen El Tereifi Idris, Minister of Interior Affairs, and the Council’s rapporteur stated in a press statement the importance of “preservation of constitutional rights in peaceful practice in accordance with the requirements of the democratic phase”.

Protests in South Darfur

On Friday, people in Gereida in South Darfur, took to the street in protest against the rampant insecurity in the area. They began an open sit-in, demanding protection, and the prosecution of the attackers. Members of the Darfur Displaced and Refugees Coordination in Gereida locality condemned the attack, describing it as “barbaric” in a statement yesterday.

They demanded the director of Gereida locality, the local police chief, and the commander of the Gereida army garrison to be replaced, as well as the army and RSF troops in the area.

Civilian governors

On Sunday, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok said that the appointment of civilian governors “is a great step towards completing the structures of the transitional authority.”

During their meeting on Sunday, he instructed the new governors of the 18 Sudanese states to strengthen security, attend to people’s pensions, provide necessary goods and services, sombat smuggling, enhance youth employment opportunities, and increase representation and participation of women and state civil service reform.

Hamdok emphasised that the appointment of two women as state governors for the first time in the history of Sudan is a matter of pride and a step in the right direction, in order to enhance the participation of women in the various government agencies.

Feminist groups in Khartoum organised a vigil in Khartoum in protest last week, against the underrepresentation of women among the selected governors and the absence of women in the list of candidates for ambassadors abroad

Member of the Sovereign Council Mohamed El Faki told reporters in Khartoum that the selection of civilian state governors was “a difficult struggle”.

NUP withdrawal

The National Umma Party (NUP), presided by El Sadig El Mahdi, reacted to the announcement of the new governors, by withdrawing its members from their posts at the state governments. The NUP accused the government of violating the agreed principles by appointing governors with a military background for fragile states such as East and West Darfur, and Kassala and El Gedaref. He warned that this may lead to armed conflicts in both regions.

Siddig Ismail, the party’s new deputy leader, said his party refuses to participate in “building state rule” that is not accepted by the public, he said, and announced “a tactical campaign to inform the people about the dangers that surround the homeland as a result of [this] paralysing fabrication”.

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