Africa Intelligence: Why did some of Bashir’s men join Hemedti’s camp? | Politics


The French website “Africa Intelligence” published a report stating that many of the main figures in the regime of the ousted Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir Currently in ranks Rapid Support Militia Which he leads Muhammad Hamdan Dagalo (Hemedti) Despite the latter’s claim to be fighting the regular army under the pretext of ridding Sudan of the Islamist supporters of the former president, who are called “the Islamists.”

The website, which has specialized in African affairs since the early 1980s, explained that since the beginning of the war in… Sudan Last year, Hemedti rallied support by claiming to be fighting the former regime led by Bashir and the National Congress party that had ruled for decades at the time.

The importance of social affiliations

The report says that blood relations, intermarriage, and tribal affiliation constitute a crucial element in joining the Rapid Support Militia. Many of the senior actors in Hemedti’s forces were supporters of the Bashir regime, and they joined Hemedti’s forces because of blood relations.

At the same time, he pointed out that one of Hemedti’s most prominent political advisors, Youssef Ezzat Al-Mahri, is a defector from the Communist Party. He said that his brother, Mohamed Ezzat, who maintains a much lower status in the Rapid Support Forces, was an important player during the Bashir era in the region from which Hemedti hails, north of the country. Darfur.

The Mahri brothers belong to the same tribe.Rizeigat“Like Hemedti, and to the same clan within this tribe. Others descend from Arab tribes close to Hemedti, such as Abdel Moneim Al-Rabi’, who belonged to National Congress PartyHe is a youth leader in the Sudanese Islamic Movement and currently works in United kingdom. Likewise, Al-Fateh Qureshi, another former young Islamist leader under Bashir who was very active in the West Kordofanand is now a spokesman for the Rapid Support Forces.

A picture of Youssef Ezzat Al-Mahri, a Sudanese member of the Rapid Support Militia.
Youssef Ezzat, a relative of Hemedti and one of his senior advisors, defected from the Communist Party (Al Jazeera)

Vice President Al-Bashir

The same applies to Hasabo Mohamed Abdel Rahman, who was vice president under Bashir and deputy secretary-general of the Islamic Movement, and changed his position at the beginning of the war and joined Hemeti’s camp. There are some reports that if the capital of Darfur (El Fasher) falls into the hands of the Rapid Support Forces, Hemeti may appoint him governor of the region.

The report continues by saying that since the beginning of the war, the Rapid Support Forces have extensively recruited cadres from the Sudanese security forces andPDF.

Ahmed (Hasbo Abdel Rahman’s son) and Ali Dakhro (a Sudanese influencer) were part of the Popular Defence Forces battalions that tried to disperse anti-Bashir protests in 2019. The first now works in public relations for the Rapid Support Forces, while the second became a militia leader in Khartoum.

Ibrahim Baqal, a journalist and former member of the National Congress Party, also switched sides between the start of the war in mid-April 2023 and August 2023, and now wears the Rapid Support uniform.

Regional dynamics

To swell the ranks of the RSF, Hemeti also “poached” retired senior military officers, according to the report, such as Al-Nour Hamid Marahed and Mahdi Kabba, both of whom belong to the nomadic Hawzama tribe, like Hemeti’s own Rizeigat tribe. The two men are now responsible for controlling the towns of Umm Rawaba and Rahad in North Kordofan.

The report explained that many of Bashir’s supporters switched allegiance and joined Hemedti’s camp for either personal or regional reasons, or because of the signing of the “Juba Peace Agreement”, which pulled the rug from some of them.

Hasbo Mohamed Abdel Rahman, former Sudanese Vice President Omar al-Bashir
Hasabo Abdel Rahman, Vice President Al-Bashir, joined the Rapid Support Militia after the war (Sudanese Press)

The site indicated that Juba Agreement It was signed in October 2020 by about 10 rebel movements (mostly from Darfur and Kordofan andBlue NileThe transitional government then allocated positions to the leaders of these groups. The outcome of this agreement was bad for some of Bashir’s former loyalists in the provinces, such as Mohamed Pasha Tabiq, a former senior official in the National Congress Party in West Kordofan who joined the Rapid Support Forces at the beginning of the war.

The same applies to the mayor of the “Hamj” ethnic group, Obaid Suleiman Abu Shotal, the former leader of the National Congress Party in Blue Nile State, who changed his position when the commander-in-chief of the armed forces chose Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan Leader Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North Sector Owner of propertyThe signatory of the Juba Agreement to be a representative of Blue Nile State.

The Africa Intelligence report stated that in 2021, Abu Shotal was involved in sectarian violence in Blue Nile. Hemedti met him and is said to have recruited him during subsequent reconciliation efforts in late 2022.

Abu Shawtal was last seen as a field commander with Rapid Support in Omdurman, before the armed forces regained control of it last March. RSF communications now indicate that he is leading reinforcements in Darfur, leading to the possibility that RSF will withdraw its soldiers from Omdurman to seize El Fasher.

This same logic also led to the recruitment of Haroun Medikher, a former associate ofMusa HilalHemedti’s main rival in Darfur under Bashir’s regime. Madikher was imprisoned in 2017 and released after Bashir’s fall. He now commands a battalion of the Rapid Support Forces on the Khartoum front.

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