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TMC deputy warns Sudan’s main militia against attacks on civilians

May 22 - 2019 KHARTOUM
The commander of Sudan’s main government militia, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Lt Gen Mohamed Hamadan (aka Hemeti), who is also deputy chairman of the ruling Transitional Military Council (SUNA)
The commander of Sudan’s main government militia, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Lt Gen Mohamed Hamadan (aka Hemeti), who is also deputy chairman of the ruling Transitional Military Council (SUNA)

The commander of Sudan’s main government militia, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Lt Gen Mohamed Hamadan (aka Hemeti), who is also deputy chairman of the ruling Transitional Military Council, has warned unnamed parties from “proceeding with their plans to destabilise security”.

Addressing the RSF Brigade 185 at El Muhandiseen in Omdurman on Monday evening, he said there are some who are planning to create chaos. “We are on the lookout for them.”

In his speech, calling on the RSF to remain vigilant and ready to keep the country to safe. He also cautioned them to abide by discipline, stressing that they were being subjected to “a campaign of defamation”.

He said: “Attacks on civilians are forbidden. I know the RSF is a disciplined force, and anyone who commits a crime or an offense will immediately be disqualified and brought to justice”.

Attacks

According to Hemeti, the gunmen 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 hospital later.

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.

Funding

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”.

The USA-based Enough Project warned in April 2017 that EU’s financial support to Sudan in combating illegal migration would assist the notorious RSF militia – which the EU denied.

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.


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