Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces occupy school in South Kordofan
On June 14, members of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) occupied the El Zahraa Basic School for Girls in Kadugli, capital of South Kordofan, and turned it into a military training centre.
The Sudanese Human Rights and Development Organisation (HUDO) reported on Thursday that RSF soldiers in seven vehicles mounted with machine guns stormed the El Zahraa school in the Tello district in the southern part of Kadugli.
Upon arrival, their commandant, Lt Col Mohammed Abdelmunim, ordered them to dig trenches around the school. Since then, the school has been used as a military training centre. HUDO states.
When the residents of Tellu went to inquire what was happening, they were chased away and warned not to come nearby again.
They reported the case to the acting military governor of South Kordofan state, but no steps have been taken to remove the militiamen from the school.
After the easing of Covid-19 measures, schools reopened in South Kordofan on July 2. Yet the pupils and teachers of the El Zahraa Basic School cannot use the premises.
HUDO expressed its concern about the behaviour of the RSF in South Kordofan and calls upon Sudan’s Sovereign Council, the prime minister, the Minister of Education, and the South Kordofan governor “to immediately investigate this case and solve it urgently”, hold to account the RSF commandant “who committed this unlawful act”, consider the girls’ rights to education, compensate the school for any kind of damage caused, and disarm the militiamen in the area.
A report by the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) between March and May indicated that members of the Sudanese army and the RSF militia continue to violate human rights in the country.
Radio Dabanga reported several violent incidents in South Kordofan in which RSF members were involved. In end June, men wearing RSF uniforms shot a policeman dead in the area north of Kadigli.
On May 13, an RSF force raided El Berdab village north of Kadugli. They asked the villagers about their ethnic background. Those belonging to a Nuba tribe, the majority of the villagers, were beaten. Nine people were killed.
The next day, at least five people were killed and an unknown number of others were wounded in Kadugli, when men wearing RSF uniforms raided the El Amara district in the eastern part of the town. A number of houses were torched.
A week later, a man was killed by RSF troops near Kadugli, allegedly because he belonged to the Nuba Reika tribe.
Sovereign Council member Lt Gen Shamseldin Kabashi said during his visit to the South Kordofan capital on May 24 that “those outlaws among the regular forces who caused the recent violent events” will be held accountable.
He announced the formation of a joint army, RSF, and police force under central command to restore security and the Rule of Law in South Kordofan.
The RSF militia, set up by the ousted Al Bashir regime in 2013, was officially integrated into the Sudan Armed Forces in August last year. At the same time however, the militia stays a force unto itself, commanded by ‘Hemeti’, who also is Deputy President of Sudan's Sovereign Council.
The RSF, which grew out of the Janjaweed militiamen who fought for the Sudanese government in Darfur since the war broke out 2003, is widely believed to be responsible for atrocities in Sudan in the past six-seven years. The RSF are also held accountable by many for the violent break-up of the Khartoum sit-in in June 3 last year.
Tens of thousands of RSF troops have joined the Saudi-led campaign against the Houthi rebels in Yemen since 2015. The RSF, commanded by Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemeti’, Deputy Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, has 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.
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