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Sudan: Open letter to those allying with Rapid Support Forces

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At talks in Togo on 24 July to foster peace between the Sudan’s warring factions, Youssef Ezzat, an advisor to General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo ‘Hemeti’ commander of the Rapid Support Forces militia, met Sudanese activists, saying it was time to end the war and “start a new future”.

The purpose of this letter is not just to demonstrate the extent of Rapid Support Forces militia’s criminality, but rather to reach those whom we regard as having a political interest in what is best for Sudan and its people.

Sudanese people are being killed and displaced in a devastating war in which both sides are criminals. The RSF militia and the Sudanese Armed Forces stole power together when they overthrew the transitional government in the 25 October coup.

Then they fought over the spoils. They have waged a war over the heads of the Sudanese and have destroyed our country.

Do the RSF deserve a role?

If your political position is that RSF militia can play a role in Sudan’s future and that it will support the country’s democratic transition – something that I do not believe is reasonable or possible – make your position clear.

Work with your ‘allies’ in the RSF militia to stop its violations of human rights. Don’t indulge the militia or allow it to prolong the war that is destroying our country.

If you take what I see as a correct patriotic position against the warring parties and the beneficiaries of this war, then you should stop attempting to make political gains by any compromise with the militia. That would mean shedding more Sudanese blood.

The attempts to argue that condemnation of the RSF militia’s crimes is really support for the national army (SAF) is merely a disinformation campaign. Behind it is an attempt to justify the hidden alliance and convergence of interests between some civilian politicians and the RSF militia.

Since the first day of this war, our voices have risen against the warring parties and against the war. A position of neutrality in this war does not mean ignoring the crimes of either combatants – neither the RSF militia nor the SAF – but condemning all of them and working to stop their crimes.

Blame game

To hide the RSF militia’s fascist nature, some have emphasised the army’s violations in exchange for downplaying and sometimes ignoring the militia’s violations. That is incompatible with any transformation in Sudan.

This has reached the point of a rape incident being invented and blamed on the army on 13 May. The claim was in a statement by the Civil Front to stop the war. After widespread condemnation of this fabrication, the Front was compelled to apologise and retract the statement.

The violations committed by the SAF army in this conflict do not need to be fabricated or exaggerated in order to be condemned.

This showed the Front as one of those organisations that serves a particular political direction rather than pursuing its stated objective of ending the conflict and restoring the democratic path.

The violations committed by the SAF army in this conflict do not need to be fabricated or exaggerated in order to be condemned.

The Sudanese army has been damaged by the totalitarianism that it inherited from 30 years of Islamist and National Islamic Front/National Congress Party rule; and before that by political practices ingrained since independence and before.

These structural defects have rendered the army indifferent towards its fundamental duty of protecting citizens and indifferent to their security and safety.

This is why we witnessed at its hands the indiscriminate shelling of the civilian areas that the RSF militia occupied. We also saw the arbitrary arrests of the volunteers of the resistance committees and the champions of the emergency rooms and the closure of the relief roads.

These, among many other millitary and security violations by the army, all deserve to be condemned, denounced. Yet highlighting the army’s crimes and ignoring the RSF militia’s atrocities is dangerous.

The RSF militia’s crimes exposed its fascist nature since its creation. It will never be compatible with Sudan’s stability or peace.

The RSF militia’s atrocities include:

  • Mass killing on the basis of identity as in West Darfur;
  • Political assassination — the killing of provincial governor Khamis Abkar and his father, Tariq Malik, the head of the subsidiary body of the Sudanese Bar Association in West Darfur and many others;
  • Systematic rape and other forms of sexual violence;
  • Markets ‘selling’ girls kidnapped by the RSF militia;
  • Looting and bulldozing of properties in Khartoum;
  • Mass expulsion of citizens, occupation of hospitals and houses and theirconversion into military bases;
  • Entire neighborhoods, such as the Al-Sababi neighborhood in Bahri, have been occupied;
  • Destruction of institutions in Sudan, such as the Ahfad University, Al-Ahlia University and the Muhammad Omar Bashir Center.

These crimes must be confronted and are prime reasons to reject the presence of the RSF militia in Sudan’s  political arena.

Suggesting that the RSF militia can claim a right of ethnic or regional representation is to give into some political exploitation and deception that are as serious as the war itself.

The RSF militia is not a representative of the Arab tribes in Darfur, nor is it a representative of nomadic tribes, nor is it a representative of marginalised people or their causes.

The RSF wasn’t founded as a natural development in those regions’ political and social dynamics, nor in the context of their social situations, difficulties, and grievances.

Rather, it is an entity that was established and constructed by the Islamist regime under General Omer el Bashir to impose its ideology and racist ‘civilisational project’.

Regime protection

Bashir’s regime created this militia as a tool of repression and genocide for its own protection. It was using all tools of repression against anything that threatened its survival.

Recall the RSF militia’s appearance at rallies in September 2013 where they killed dozens of demonstrators who were marching to the streets to seek a better future for our people.

They committed these atrocities to serve Bashir and his regime. Since then, their heinous actions have spread from Darfur to Kordofan and throughout the country. This oppression and criminality are ingrained in its essence. That is why it cannot work for stability, or peace.

Our people are the owners and the judges on these matters. If you are timid or shy about your position, then maybe you should reconsider it. Perhaps it is wrong.

Come out to the people with forces that really seek the interests of Sudan and its people.

May God save Sudan and the people of Sudan.

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