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Hemetti rejects integration of his RSF militiamen in Sudanese army

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Mohamed Hamdan Daglo Hemetti (fille photo ST)June 6, 2021 (KHARTOUM) - Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo "Hemetti", Commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) rejected publically the integration of his forces into the Sudanese army, challenging plans to merge the various armies under a unified command during the transitional period.

Hemetti who is accused of war crimes and atrocities was applauded in April 2019 by pro-democracy protesters when he had disobeyed al-Bashir and backed their calls for freedom, peace and democracy.

However, the video-documented participation of his fighters in bloody violence against peaceful sit-in outside the headquarters of the Sudanese army on 3 June 2019, irremediably tarnished his image despite several attempts to reverse it during the past two years.

Several recent reports indicated the determination of his relationship with Abdel Fattah al-Burhan the head of the Sovereign Council and Commander in Chief of the Sudan Armed Forces. Nonetheless, the two sides dismissed the allegations.

Speaking at a memorial service for a commander of the Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) in Khartoum on Friday, the RSF leader however complained of political machinations against him, recalling that the regime change in Sudan has become a reality thanks to his support for the Sudanese people.

He said he had voiced his support to the uprising at a time where "all the others" were preparing the attack on the pro-democracy sit-in in accordance with the instructions given by Omer al-Bashir.

On Saturday, the Sudan Tribune got a video including the second part of his remarks before the SLM-MM supporters where he openly rejects the merger of his RSF into the reformed Sudan Armed Forces.

"Talking about integrating the Rapid Support Forces into the army could break up the country, he further told the supporters of the former rebel group, after hinting he was a victim like them of the marginalization because some people wanted to limit his role in fighting the rebels.

"The Rapid Support is established by a law passed by an elected parliament. It’s not a battalion or a company to integrate the army, it’s a big force," he further stressed.

Last month, officials in Khartoum said al-Burhan was angered by decisions to dismiss the chief justice and to "accept" the resignation of the general attorney taken by Hemetti during his absence in Paris to participate in a summit for Sudan.

Analysts in Khartoum say Hemetti’s rejection to disband his forces constitutes an additional challenge to the democratic transition in Sudan. Adding, it can incite holdout rebel groups to refuse the DDR during the transitional period.

The SLM of Abdel Wahid al-Nur continues to accuse the RSF supported Arab tribes of killing civilians and rape in Darfur.

They point that his support to the revolution was in fact a result of Hemetti’s fear to be removed by al-Bashir who had discovered a deal between him and the UAE to recruit fighters and to send them directly to Abu Dhabi for training before to be despatched to fight the Houthi in Yemen.

On Saturday, Yasir Arman deputy chairman of the SPLM-N Agar said there is a problem between the Sudanese army and the RSF adding "this country cannot afford two armies".

"Clearly, I say that we must not allow a conflict between the army and the Rapid Support Forces," he said during a public debate about the implementation of security arrangements in Khartoum.

"The Rapid Support Forces played roles and have their problems, but in the end, there must be one army," he said. "And that the use of violence should be monopolized by the civil and democratic state only," he further emphasized.

(ST)

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