“Confusing entry” with Al-Burhan’s visit.. What does the Rapid Support’s control of Sinja mean?

Days after they seized the city of Al-Fula, the capital of West Kordofan State, in western Sudan, the Rapid Support Forces announced, in a statement, on Saturday, their control of the headquarters of the 17th Infantry Division, in the city of Sinja, the capital of Sennar State, in the southeast of the country.

On Monday, the Rapid Support Forces seized the strategic Jebel Moya area, which links the states of Al-Jazeera, Sennar and White Nile.

For more than a week, the Rapid Support Forces have been trying to seize the city of Sennar, but the army and the formations fighting with it have repelled those attempts.

Hours after the Rapid Support Forces statement, the Sudanese army spokesman, Brigadier General Nabil Abdullah, said in a statement on Sunday, “Our forces in Sinja are holding on to their positions, and are fighting the enemy with steadfastness and high morale.”

On Sunday, the army’s Facebook page published congratulations from the Army Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Muhammad Othman Al-Hussein, to the forces of the 17th Division in Sinja.

The page stated that Al-Hussein “congratulates the commander and members of the 17th Division for their steadfastness in the face of the attempts of the rebel terrorist militia to attack the safe city of Singa, and their bravery in defending it.”

Media platforms supporting the army published video clips that they said belied the Rapid Support’s allegations of seizing the headquarters of the 17th Infantry Division in Sinja.

In response, the Rapid Support Forces published videos from inside the division’s headquarters on Sunday, confirming that its forces have full control over the city of Singa, the capital of Sennar State.

Strategic expert, Abdul Wahid Al-Tayeb, points out that “the Rapid Support Forces’ seizure of the 17th Division aims to distract the efforts of the army, which seeks to retake the Jebel Moya area and advance to retake the city of Wad Madani, the capital of Al-Jazeera State.”

Al-Tayeb told Al-Hurra website, “The Rapid Support Forces aim to search for media victories more than achieving a real and influential military victory on the ground.”

He pointed out that “controlling the 17th Division will not constitute any change in the balance of power on the ground, because the city is outside the scope of direct clashes, and the presence of the Rapid Support Forces in it exposes it to attack from the east and west.”

According to the UN’s International Organization for Migration, at least 327 families have been forced to flee Jebel Moya and Sinja to safer areas.

The strategy expert, Omar Arbab, believes that “the Rapid Support Forces’ control over Sinjah has made the city of Sennar, which is bordered by the Blue Nile to the east, besieged by the Rapid Support Forces present in the Jabal Muya area to the west, in the Wad al-Haddad and Haj Abdullah areas to the north, and in Sinja to the south.”

Arbab told Alhurra, “The Rapid Support Forces’ seizure of the strategic Jebel Moya area qualified them to threaten many areas, including Kenana, Rabak, and Kosti, and also helped them control Singa.”

He pointed out that “the Rapid Support takeover of the Jabal Muya area put the army in a difficult task, especially with regard to insurance and protection operations.”

He pointed out that “the army withdrew a force from its forces present in Sinja to secure the visit of its commander, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, to Sinnar, which facilitated the Rapid Support’s takeover of Sinja.”

On Saturday, Al-Burhan visited the city of Sennar, which is about 70 kilometers away from Singa, and the Rapid Support Forces’ attack on the city coincided with Al-Burhan’s visit to Sennar.

In turn, Al-Tayeb points out that “the confusing entry of the Rapid Support Forces into Sinja indicates that it has an intelligence apparatus capable of accessing information, including those related to the movements of army commanders.”

He noted that “the decisive factor in the Rapid Support’s seizure of the city, which is the state capital, was the timing of the attack, which coincided with Al-Burhan’s visit to the city of Sennar.”

While Al-Tayeb downplayed the impact of the Rapid Support Forces’ control over Singa on combat operations, Arbab believes that “the presence of the Rapid Support Forces in Singa directly threatens the army garrison in the city of Damazin, the capital of the Blue Nile region, on the border with Ethiopia.”

He added, “The presence of the Rapid Support Forces in Sinja brings it closer to Sudan’s borders with South Sudan, and all of this facilitates its supply operations, as an important element in the war.”

Arbab explained that “the Rapid Support’s control of Sinja greatly threatens Sinnar and makes it vulnerable to attack from a number of axes, and therefore the army hastened to launch attacks with the aim of regaining control of the city.”

He continued, “The presence of the Rapid Support Forces in Singa threatens the city of Gedaref in eastern Sudan, as well as some cities in White Nile State, such as Kenana, Rabak and Kosti.”

Since April 15, 2023, Sudan has witnessed a bloody war between the army led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, followed by a deep humanitarian crisis.

The war in Sudan has killed tens of thousands, including up to 15,000 people in El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur state, according to UN experts.

But the war’s death toll is still unclear, with some estimates indicating that it reaches “150,000,” according to the US special envoy to Sudan, Tom Perriello.

Also, Sudan has registered nearly 10 million displaced people inside and outside the country since the outbreak of fighting, according to United Nations statistics.

The country’s infrastructure was subjected to massive destruction, while its population was threatened with famine.

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