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US military delegation: 'Partnerships key to lasting security' in Sudan

January 30 - 2021 KHARTOUM
AFRICOM Director of Intelligence, Heidi Berg, meets with Sudan's Higher Military Academy professionals (AFRICOM)
AFRICOM Director of Intelligence, Heidi Berg, meets with Sudan's Higher Military Academy professionals (AFRICOM)

A high-ranking delegation from United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) led by its deputy commander, Andrew Young, concluded a two-day visit to Sudan for a series of meetings with military and government officials on Thursday.

Andrew Young noted the need to further the vision for a professional Sudanese military that is accountable to the Sudanese civilian-led government and its citizens in a press release on Thursday. AFRICOM Director of Intelligence Heidi Berg also stressed the importance of ensuring military and government institutions are rooted in transparency, accountability, respect for human rights.

“Military strength is measured not just by the number of troops or the number of tanks and aircraft,” said Berg. “It is best understood in terms of the strength of its members’ values and the character of its leadership.”

“There is shared concern about the threat presented by terrorists and extremists, illegal migration, and trafficking routes,” said Berg. “There is an opportunity to discuss and build a broader intelligence perspective that benefits both our mutual interests and reduces criminal activity. The engagement in Sudan offered an opportunity to grow, develop, and deepen the relationship.”

Berg highlighted that the visit is the start of a renewed relationship between the US and Sudan "based on trust and a mutual commitment to ensuring peace and prosperity in eastern Africa," after meeting with Sudanese military professionals from the Sudanese Higher Military Academy. AFRICOM is responsible for military relations between the United States and nations and regional organisations in Africa.

She also spoke to the Sudanese Higher Military Academy professionals about joint military training and education institutions, partnerships to enhance stability, sharing intelligence information, and countering terrorist radicalisation and recruitment. The director noted that “security threats in Africa affect the US as well,” explaining that “working together to solve challenges and sharing information is part of the solution.”

The US delegation met with Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, Defence Minister Maj Gen Yasin Ibrahim, and Chief of Staff Mohamed Osman El Hussein earlier this week. Hamdok said in a statement that the Juba Peace Agreement paves the way for ending conflicts and contributes to achieving security and stability in the country.

Last week, the National Consensus Forces (NCF) said the rapid deterioration of security in many parts of Sudan is caused by the presence of organised opposition and the failure of the authorities to maintain security.

At the end of 2019, the Sudanese government established the Empowerment Elimination, Anti-Corruption, and Funds Recovery Committee, with the aim to purge Sudan of the remnants of the Al Bashir regime. Empowerment (tamkin) is the term with which the ousted government of Omar Al Bashir supported its affiliates in state affairs by granting them far-going privileges, including government functions and the setting-up of various companies.

The US Sudan Democratic Transition, Accountability, and Fiscal Transparency Act of 2020 advocates tightening the monitoring of the Sudanese army, security forces, and intelligence services.

At the start of 2021, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) launched the campaign Know Your Right, to protest the violence of paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) against “ordinary citizens”. The association further demands the dissolution of the militia.

In response to three weeks of protest, Sudan’s Senior Public Prosecutor, Tajelsir El Hibir, issued a directive to security, police, and military forces in the country on Thursday, prohibiting the detention of people except by the police and the prosecution.

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