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Sudanese militiamen killed in ‘army attack’

May 15 - 2020 KADUGLI
Sudanese army soldiers and RSF militiamen during a joint military exercise in River Nile state, December 2016 (Social media)
Sudanese army soldiers and RSF militiamen during a joint military exercise in River Nile state, December 2016 (Social media)

Nine members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Sudan’s main government militia, were killed in an attack by army soldiers near the South Kordofan capital of Kadugli on Wednesday. At least 16 other people were wounded.

RSF spokesman Brig Jamal Juma said in a press statement on Thursday that the attackers belong to the 14th Division Security Arrangements. 

They moved to a herders’ settlement outside Kadugli in four vehicles, and attacked the residents, among them RSF paramilitaries on leave who were spending their time with their relatives.  

The attack resulted in the killing of nine militiamen. At least 16 other people were injured. Two RSF patrol vehicles were destroyed.

Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemeti’, Deputy Chairman of the Sovereign Council and RSF Commander-in-Chief described the events of Kadugli as “unfortunate”, saying that they are not new to the RSF. They “have clearly been targeted since the change in the country”.

The aim of this violent incident is to set the militia against the army, cause the paramilitaries to leave the country’s capital, and create chaos in the country, he said.

A report by the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) between March and May indicates that members of the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces militia continue to violate human rights in the country.

‘Force unto itself’

Officially, the RSF militia, 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 intself, 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 militia 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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