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Sudan's Long Journey Toward Civilian Rule

It’s known that Sudan has high levels of poverty and low food security, but what many people don’t know is that it is one of the richest countries in resources, especially gemstones, and uranium. Logically with a government willing to develop and nurture, Sudan should at least attract foreign investments, but what stands in front of that many reasons, one of them is what is happening in this country for 3 weeks and returns to decades ago.

On April 15, the conflict started between the RSF (Rapid Support Forces) led by Gen. Mohamad Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, in the capital Khartoum, west Sudan, and the Darfur region, and the army led by its chief, Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, who allied a few years ago.

To understand the current situation, we should go back in time to late 2018 and the beginning of 2019, when the Sudanese people protested and started civil disobedience due to rising living costs and deposed President Omar Al-Bashir, who ruled the country for around 30 years. After that, a council was created called the Transitional Military Council (TMC) that replaced the president. This council consisted of both military and civilian parties, first the Sovereignty Council of Sudan led by Al-Burhan and his Vice Hmedti, leader of the RSF, and others by prime minister Abdallah Hamdok, who took on the revolution’s demands.

What is RSF? 

Whoever looking from the outside will ask this logical question: What is the RSF and isn’t it part of the army? The answer returns to 20 years ago, when Al-Bashir used these militia forces to suppress the rebellions in Darfur in 2003, done by armed minorities called SLA and JEM; at that time, they were called Janjaweed. This militia’s origin was factions of the Arab tribes, who turned later into criminals and rapists, according to the ICC's (International Criminal Court) ongoing investigation of one of the leaders, Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman, who was accused of 31 charges including persecution, murder, torture, and rape. The number of victims reached around 3 million people who were facing genocide, ethnic cleansing, rape, and displacement from their homes, and till nowadays they are living in refugee camps. 

In 2013, this militia took its place legally under the command of the National Intelligence and Security Service by President Al-Bashir and gradually became an independent institution, named the Rapid Support Forces, but in reality, this militia empowered itself by controlling gold mines and having a large number of armed species. Reuters said it reached 100,000 soldiers led by Hemedti.

In 2021, thousands of Sudanese people protested again to stand by civilian rule after procrastination from the military side. After that, Al-Burhan dissolved the TMC, removed its ministers, declared a state of emergency, and suspended the application of articles of the constitutional document in October 2021. After many clashes between civilian species, who are called the powers of the Declaration of Freedom and Change, they agreed on signing a framework agreement on December 5, 2022, to pave the way to a new civilian government in 2 years.

 On April 5, the signing of the final transitional agreement was delayed for the second time amid disagreements over whether the army would be under civilian supervision and plans to integrate the RSF into the armed forces. One of the points of contention is the period of integration. Al-Burhan suggested 2 years, and Hemedti replied with 10 years to integrate, other than the arrangements of the leaders of the RSF that will integrate. 

Since the beginning of the conflict between the army and the RSF Still Tuesday 550 people had died and 4,926 people wounded so far according to Sudanese reports, and negotiations are promised for a willing ceasefire to stop the violations from Thursday for 7 days. UN is warning that fighting between the army and RSF risks causing a humanitarian catastrophe that could spill into other countries, about 100,000 people have fled Sudan to neighboring countries, the UN says, with more than 42,000 Sudanese crossing into Egypt along with 2,300 foreign nationals since the crisis began. Aid workers are concerned about the lack of basic services in Sudan’s border areas and in Port Sudan, especially water and food supply and transportation. What makes the situation even harder is the horrible health situation, 60% of the capital Khartoum health facilities are closed, according to the World Health Organization.

Editor: Joan Andrew Ramadan


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Tags: #SudanConflict


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