Sudanese Paramilitary Force Created to Eliminate Threats Turns into a Menace
Khartoum, Sudan – (African Boulevard News) – Sudan is undergoing a severe crisis. The power struggle between Abdelfattah Al-Burhan, the military leader, and his deputy General Mohamed Hamdan Dagolo, who commands the notorious Rapid Support Forces, has escalated into a conflict that jeopardizes the country’s stability.
Rapid Support Forces transformed into a threat
The Sudanese government established the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in February 2013 as an official paramilitary force to fight insurgency and eliminate the threat of the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) in Darfur. The RSF initially consisted of a group of former Janjaweed militias known for their involvement in the Darfur conflict. The government appointed General Dagolo, popularly called Hemeti, as the leader of the new force.
Although the RSF succeeded in quelling insurgency in Darfur, the group soon transformed into a formidable power in the country, with Hemeti exerting influence over government decisions. The RSF became notorious for its involvement in various crimes, including ethnic cleansing, killings, and mass rapes, among other human rights violations.
Hemeti’s ambition for power
By 2018, Hemeti had become one of Sudan’s most influential men and key players in the country’s shifting politics. In December 2018, when the Sudanese people started protesting against the 30-year-rule of President Omar al-Bashir, Hemeti was among the military leaders who staged a coup that ousted Bashir from power.
After Bashir’s removal, the military and the people agreed to establish a transitional government that would run the country until 2022, when free and fair elections were scheduled to occur. Hemeti and his RSF played a significant role in the negotiations that led to the establishment of the transitional government.
However, Hemeti’s political ambitions were beyond serving in the transitional government, and he started to assert his authority over his superior, General Al-Burhan. This power struggle has further polarized the country and begs the question: who indeed is in charge in Sudan?
The impact on the civilian population
The RSF’s violation of human rights, killing, and rape of civilians in Darfur and Khartoum have attracted worldwide condemnation. The Sudanese government has repeatedly denied the allegations, but testimonies from survivors and eyewitnesses prove otherwise.
The RSF’s brutality continues unabated. Recent clashes between the military and RSF in Khartoum have left scores dead and injured. The RSF takes no prisoners and uses excessive force against a helpless and unarmed civilian population.
A call for outside intervention
As the Sudanese people continue to suffer under the yoke of Hemeti’s RSF, of grave concern is whether the international community is doing enough to address the crisis as it unfolds. While some have imposed sanctions on individuals and entities affiliated with the RSF, much still needs to be done to stop the violations and prevent atrocities.
It is vital that the African Union and the United Nations take appropriate measures to address the crisis in Sudan. The civilian population needs protection from the RSF’s violence and human rights violations, and the government must be held to account for its complicity in these crimes.
While the RSF was initially created to eliminate threats to the government, it soon became a threat in itself. The RSF’s leader, Hemeti, has used his influence to gain power beyond the mandate of fighting insurgency, leading to a power struggle in the country. The impact on the civilian population has been devastating as the RSF continues to violate human rights and commit atrocities with impunity.
The international community must act urgently to address the crisis in Sudan and protect the civilian population from further harm.