Sudan War: Massacres, Torture, and Displacement--another Proxy War?

Just days ago, another massacre in Sudan. Nearly 200 people were killed and hundreds injured in the village of Wad al-Nura in Sudan's Gezira State after the Rapid Support Forces stormed the area and committed a massacre.

The Sudanese newspaper Al-Ahdath reported that the village of Wad al-Nura witnessed a genocide after the Rapid Support Forces attacked it twice, killing up to 200 people.

The newspaper confirmed that what happened in the village is considered a "massacre and a full-fledged crime" carried out by the Rapid Support Forces.

Wad al-Nura village is affiliated with the 24th Qurashi locality, which is located at the end of the Gezira Project extension and the beginning of the borders of the White Nile State, approximately 40 kilometers southeast of Qatina, and is commercially linked to Khartoum State.

This massacre comes after the "Rapid Support" imposed a tight siege on the village hours before storming it, while eyewitnesses said that "militia elements looted the village market, homes and cars, after committing the massacre, and they also looted other villages on their way back."

Reactions condemning and denouncing

In the context of responses to the massacre, the Sudanese Transitional Sovereignty Council condemned the crime, and said in a statement that "the Rapid Support committed a heinous massacre" in the village, while the "Rapid Support Forces" claimed that they "preemptively attacked the Sudanese army camps in Wad al-Nura in response to a planned attack by the Sudanese army."

The Transitional Sovereignty Council described the actions of the "Rapid Support" as "part of a systematic campaign of violence against civilians."

The statement added, "This heinous crime is added to a series of crimes committed by this rebel militia in many states in Sudan. These are criminal acts that reflect the systematic behavior of these militias in targeting civilians, looting their property, and forcibly displacing them from their areas."

The Transitional Council also called on the international community and human rights organizations to "condemn and denounce the heinous massacre" against unarmed civilians, and "hold the perpetrators from the Rapid Support Militia accountable, in implementation of the principle of non-impunity."

The "Youth Observatory for Darfur" (MASHAD), concerned with human rights, also condemned the Al-Jazeera massacre, and called on the international community to classify the "Rapid Support" as a "terrorist organization."

The Observatory also expressed its condemnation of the attack on civilians in the villages of Wad al-Nura, al-Jatra, and Jabal Saqdi, in Al-Jazeera State, and the blocking of the road linking Sennar and the White Nile to commercial traffic, the looting of goods and property, and the terrorizing of civilians by shooting them.

The Observatory described what happened recently as "unjustified hostile acts and a flagrant violation of human rights and international humanitarian laws," stressing the need for immediate action to save the lives of civilians from the crimes of terrorist militias.

For his part, a senior official at the international organization "Human Rights Watch" described the humanitarian situation in Sudan as "deteriorating", and pointed out that "the suffering of civilians is increasing day after day due to the nature of the conflict and its direct impact on the delivery of humanitarian aid.

The organization "Doctors Without Borders" reported that the number of victims in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur State, has increased to exceed 1,280 between dead and wounded.

The organization said in a statement: "We received 1,280 wounded in the southern hospital that we support, 203 of whom died of their wounds, between May 10 and June 3."

It pointed out that the violent fighting taking place in El Fasher and the continued bombing of homes, markets and hospitals means that there is no safe place for civilians, as there are mass casualties almost every day.

The hell of war looms over the displaced

Alone and without family, the young Sudanese man Ahmed Al-Dijawi got off a yellow bus, looking right and left, searching for the nearest metro station, not caring about the taxi drivers who were negotiating with other passengers from his own country, after they all arrived in Cairo from Aswan Governorate, southern Egypt, after a journey full of horrors and fear after fleeing the war in Khartoum.

The bus that Al-Dijawi, who is thirty years old, took, stopped at the famous Lazoghli Square in the center of Cairo, as he moved a little away from that station surrounded by a wall and a dilapidated door eaten by rust, and which has become a warehouse where thousands of tons of food supplies accumulate, so he chose to take the metro, in order to avoid any exploitation after his money ran out.

The Journey of the Unknown

The journey of the unknown and the suffering that Al-Degawi underwent to reach Egypt, the details of which he told Al-Mayadeen Net, in the deserts amidst the mountains, reached thousands of miles, in search of the lost safety after he left his home under the roar of cannons and bullets, and his refusal to seek asylum in Libya at the hands of smuggling gangs that are widely active in the border strip between the three countries.

The signs of panic when he spoke about the killing of his father and mother by stray bullets, when the Rapid Support Forces raided the house in the middle of Khartoum, made Al-Degawi cry, especially after he remembered his older brother Omar seeking asylum in the Chadian city of Adré, coming from Darfur, where he worked as a government employee, while he preferred to migrate to Egypt to join his cousins.

A miserable situation and an endless human tragedy are facing Al-Degawi as a result of the war, after it destroyed his hopes of building a house and getting married, and he lost his job as a teacher in a Khartoum school, and the loss of his family, so he began a new journey in search of work in Cairo, saying: "I need to arrange a job as soon as possible, as my money is about to run out, and I will temporarily live with my relatives."

The war that broke out between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces in April 2022 led to the displacement of 10 million people from their areas, half a million of whom sought refuge in Egypt, according to United Nations statistics. After its scope expanded, it also left more than 17,000 dead, and 25 million entered the circle of hunger.

According to estimates by the International Organization for Migration, the total number of Sudanese residing in Egypt reached about 4 million Sudanese, about 56 percent of whom are concentrated in Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Damietta and Dakahlia, in the north of the country.

How did the war start?

This war is not a new one, but rather the accumulations and challenges that Sudan has faced since its independence on January 1, 1956. These accumulations have cast their shadows on its past and present, and today they cast their shadows on its future. The war that broke out on April 15 last year was not a sudden event, but rather a new entry into a dark tunnel.

The war did not surprise the Sudanese, but it shocked them. The war was an alternative plan to a master plan, the preparation for which began with the beginning of the transitional period in 2019. During this period, the number of Rapid Support Forces was increased from 17,000 soldiers to more than 140,000 soldiers, and their combat capabilities were raised through training provided by foreign countries and companies, and through the significant development of their armament through Western-Israeli sponsorship, as indicated by Sudanese politicians and writers, and with Emirati funding and supervision, as the Sudanese government said through its permanent representative to the United Nations and Lieutenant General Yasser Al-Atta, Assistant Commander-in-Chief and member of the Sovereignty Council. The war practically began when the West, represented by the head of the UN mission to Sudan, the German Volker Perthes, and the Quadripartite Mechanism consisting of America, Britain, the Emirates and Saudi Arabia, sought to impose a new transitional constitution and a partnership agreement between the Freedom and Change Alliance known as the "FFC" and the army leaders, known as the framework agreement. The rejection of Sudanese society, represented by its political and social systems, thwarted the imposition of this agreement and that transitional constitution. The army as an institution also rejected these two documents, because - like Sudanese society - it saw in them an empowerment for the outside to dominate and control Sudan, and return it once again to the grip of Western colonialism through a local partnership represented by the Rapid Support Forces and the Freedom and Change Alliance "FFC".

The military establishment was angered by texts in the two documents (the new transitional constitution and the framework agreement) that undermine Sudan's unity, identity, sovereignty and national independence, and other texts that make the Rapid Support Forces an independent army parallel to the military establishment and outside its command.

After the failure of the army commander to subject the army institution and society to the rule of the new transitional constitution and the framework agreement, the leaders of the Freedom and Change Alliance (FFC) threatened the Sudanese people with war, and gave them the choice between approving these two documents or war.

When the head of the UN mission and the Quadripartite Mechanism led by America were unable to impose the two documents as governing documents, and failed to impose the Freedom and Change Alliance as rulers of Sudan without a popular mandate and election, the outside resorted to war as an alternative to the constitutional political option. Here, the Rapid Support Forces moved from Darfur to the Marawi military base located in northern Sudan and occupied it on April 13, 2023, and captured a number of Egyptian army officers who were in this base, which is considered a center for Sudanese-Egyptian military cooperation. This was preceded by the entry of large forces of the Rapid Support Forces into Khartoum equipped with their military equipment.

The entry of these forces into Khartoum and Merowe without the permission of the military establishment provoked the ire of the army and the national political systems, which realized the dangers of this matter and sought to calm things down and work to find a peaceful solution to it. However, they were surprised, as were the Sudanese people, on the morning of April 15, by the Rapid Support Forces’ siege of the residence of the army commander, the head of the Sovereignty Council, and the army command headquarters, and the efforts of these forces to arrest or kill these leaders. The second surprise was the Rapid Support Forces’ occupation of many of the sovereign headquarters that they were guarding, such as the Republican Palace, the Council of Ministers, and the Ministries of Interior, Foreign Affairs, Finance, and Information, and their occupation of Khartoum Airport, which they proceeded to burn and destroy immediately upon entering it.

Objectives of the war

In his first appearance on the morning of Saturday, April 15, the commander of the Rapid Support Forces, Mohamed Hamdan Hemeti, announced that the goal of the military operation was to arrest the army leaders and impose the framework agreement and the new transitional constitution. At the end of the first month of the war, the Rapid Support Forces announced that the main goal of the war was to put an end to the 1956 state, which was established after Sudan's independence through national consensus among all the people of Sudan, which clearly means that the war aims to turn the page on national independence and end Sudan's sovereignty over its land. It also clearly means that the geography of Sudan, which was established by the independence state in 1956, is vulnerable to division, which was revealed during the last months of the war, especially after the Rapid Support Forces took control of 4 states of the Darfur region out of 5 states.

The role of the "Freedom Forces" in the war and its relationship with the Rapid Support Forces

In a detailed explanation, the politician and economist Dr. Abdel Wahab Ahmed Saad spoke to Al-Mayadeen Net about the relationship between the "Freedom Forces" and the Rapid Support Forces. He said, "There are political interests between the two parties, which made the Freedom and Change Alliance a political incubator for the Rapid Support Forces, and coordination between the two parties was at the highest levels before and during the war," noting that "the two parties are linked by one external reference, and they are united by coordination, identical points of view, and one way of thinking, and this is what brought Sudan to the stage of war." Saad pointed out that the tight coordination between the Forces for Freedom and Change and the Rapid Support Forces made the former fully aware of the details of the war that the latter intended to ignite, and that the Forces for Freedom and Change had contributions to the war before and during its outbreak.

According to Saad, "the war is a failed political coup, and this coup was supported by 140,000 fighters, tens of thousands of whom were gathered from West African countries. He confirmed that the logistical needs of the war were fully provided from abroad, and the outside divided the roles between the Forces for Freedom and Change and the Rapid Support Forces, so that the former would take on the task of political roles and discourse and some security roles, and the Rapid Support Forces would take on the task of seizing power by force of arms."

According to Saad, "the slogan raised by the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) whenever the armed forces advance and besiege the Rapid Support Forces is (No to war)." Therefore, the FFC is making great efforts to stop the war when the army makes progress on the ground to save what remains of the Rapid Support Forces, which are besieged today by the armed forces and by the uprising of the Sudanese people in what is known as the popular resistance, which was formed by the Sudanese society to contribute to defeating the Rapid Support Forces, which in turn entered people's homes, violated honor, stole property, and looted government departments." In the context of his speech, Abdel Wahab said that "the destruction was primarily of the Sudanese identity with the aim of rebuilding a new identity." According to Saad, the Freedom and Change Alliance "FFC" hopes to return to power through the rifle of the Rapid Support Forces. In developing the existing relationship between it and the Rapid Support Forces, "Progress" (the new name of the Freedom and Change Alliance - FFC) signed an agreement with the Rapid Support Forces in Addis Ababa on January 3, which strengthened the relations between the two parties and expressed their common orientations, and stressed the need to form civilian administrations to assume power in the areas controlled by the Rapid Support Forces. This was implemented in Darfur and Al-Jazeera State, and some members of the (QHT/Progress) in these administrations, which indicates a growing trend on both sides to replicate the Libyan situation in Sudan, by consecrating the isolation of those regions from Sudan, which paves the way for their separation from it.

Foreign Interventions

Foreign intervention began to appear on the Sudanese scene in a blatant manner before the change that overthrew the regime of President Omar al-Bashir on April 11, 2019. This was evident in the overt sponsorship of Western countries and their Gulf allies in the intensive media campaigns carried out by Gulf satellite channels and media centers in Western capitals and cities that adopted a mobilizing discourse that greatly helped in mobilizing public opinion against al-Bashir’s regime. The presence and exposure of foreign intervention developed during the demonstrators’ sit-in in front of the army command in the capital, Khartoum, as the sit-in square remained a destination for Western ambassadors and diplomats.

Irfan Siddiq, the British Ambassador to Sudan, was very present in this square, and he even led some of the youth in their prayers inside the sit-in square. Political parties, forces, and media figures reflected the extent of the Western diplomatic presence among the youth during the sit-in period. This was accompanied by the frequent visits of the leaders of the Freedom and Change Alliance (FFC) to Western embassies and the embassies of the Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Jaafar Hassan, a leader in this alliance, acknowledged in a televised symposium the FFC’s relationship with the embassies, stressing his alliance’s keenness on this connection and relationship. According to political researcher Dr. Ahmed Al-Mubarak, the residence of the Emirati and Saudi ambassadors have become declared headquarters for the political management of the political process in Sudan, since the beginning of the change in April 2019, and have become a permanent destination for the leaders of the "Freedom" and some of their military partners. According to Al-Mubarak, foreign interference reached the highest levels of exposure and danger when the Western and Gulf embassies imposed a political agreement between the "Freedom" and the military leaders, and imposed with it a transitional constitution from which the Arabic language was removed as an official language of the state, in a precedent that symbolizes the fundamental changes that are intended to be imposed on Sudan.

Al-Mubarak says that, according to the political partnership agreement and the constitutional document of 2019, a partnership was established between the "Freedom" and the military leaders, which monopolized the transitional authority, and this partnership continued for about 3 years until it was interrupted by the procedures of October 25, which dissolved this partnership, which the West, with the help of the Emirates and Saudi Arabia, tried to restore again through the framework agreement and the new transitional constitution.

The United Nations Mission in Sudan was one of the most prominent representations of foreign intervention in Sudan. Irfan Siddiq, the British Ambassador to Sudan, announced that he had prepared a memorandum in the name of the transitional Prime Minister, Abdullah Hamdok, sent to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, calling for the establishment of a special UN mission for Sudan whose mandate covers all of Sudan’s geography, and whose duration extends until the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2030. This mission would undertake the main tasks of dismantling state institutions and rebuilding them in a new way, including the army, police, security, judiciary, prosecution, and other civil service institutions, and would prepare a permanent constitution for the country, re-engineer the cultural, value, and identity foundations on new foundations, and lay the foundations for creating a new future for Sudan away from its historical starting points and orientations. Then, the external penetration of Sudan was manifested in the competition between the transitional authority’s civilian and military partners on the issue of normalization with “Israel.” Lieutenant General Burhan, Chairman of the Sovereignty Council and Commander of the Army, preceded his civilian partners in the first round of the normalization race and held a meeting with Netanyahu in Uganda. The civilians outperformed Burhan in the second round when the Council of Ministers of Freedom and Change (FFC) headed by Abdullah Hamdok took the initiative to cancel the “Israel” boycott law of 1958. Then, the Minister of Justice signed the Abraham Accords with the authorization of the civilian Council of Ministers. The Council strengthened its progress by amending the curricula to be consistent with the normalization project. Then, Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok participated in the four-way summit that brought him and Burhan together with US President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. Then, the Sudanese Military Industrialization Corporation, which manufactures aircraft, drones, tanks, smart missiles, cannons, and all types of light weapons and ammunition, was opened to Israeli experts. Then, the Israeli-American request was responded to to stop the production of Sudanese factories that achieved self-sufficiency in weapons and military equipment for Sudan and enabled it to achieve a financial return estimated at about $2 billion annually. From the proceeds of selling military products, which placed Sudan in second place in Africa after South Africa, and first in the Arab world.

Graduation of a new batch of "Rapid Support" forces in Saudi Arabia... and Sudan protests

The Sudanese newspaper "Al-Ahdath" reported that the "Rapid Support" forces graduated a new batch of its forces that received military training in Saudi Arabia, in preparation for participating in the war in Sudan.

In response to the recent "Rapid Support" move, a source told the newspaper "Al-Ahdath" that Khartoum expresses its protest and rejection of the graduation of a batch of "Rapid Support" forces on Saudi territory.

Video clips have spread showing a number of "Rapid Support" elements dancing after completing their training in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia witnessed the graduation of a batch of "Rapid Support" forces in several military specialties.

According to the newspaper "Al-Ahdath", these specialties include "special forces", "artillery", "snipers", "pilot", in addition to "medical aid".

The newspaper added that the goal of graduating this batch is to prepare "to join them in the battles of Al-Jazeera, which they plan to reach via Ethiopia or South Sudan".

The Sudanese newspaper also noted that the spokesman for the "Rapid Support" threatened during the graduation that the forces are capable of reaching Port Sudan.

Results and repercussions of the war

The war left behind comprehensive destruction in Sudan, and set Sudan back decades. The effects of the war included all aspects of life, and caused great destruction to the infrastructure, and displaced millions of Sudanese from their homes, villages and cities, and exposed them to the most heinous types of violations, and impoverished a very large segment of the population of central, southern, northern and eastern Sudan, and deprived them of all services such as medicine and education, and even affected their right to freedom and human dignity.

The Rapid Support Forces displaced about 8 million citizens from Khartoum State, 5 million from Al-Jazeera State, and the same number from Darfur States, and 40% of the Sudanese population became internally displaced or refugees outside Sudan. This displacement process was accompanied by the settlement of displaced persons brought by the Rapid Support Forces from West African countries to settle in Sudan in the context of a demographic change process similar to that which occurred in Palestine since the Haganah and Irgun groups forced the Palestinians to leave their homes and lands and brought in settlers from a number of countries around the world.

The displacement of indigenous people was accompanied by systematic killings and ethnic cleansing, such as that which happened to the men and youth of the Masalit tribe, from which the great poet Mohamed Miftah Al-Fitouri descends. It was also accompanied by looting of all citizens' property, including money and movables. The displacement was accompanied by rapes of women, in addition to looting markets, industrial areas and shops within neighborhoods, then burning markets and destroying factories that were difficult for the Rapid Support Forces to transport to Darfur and from there to Chad, the Central African Republic and South Sudan. However, the largest criminal operations committed by the Rapid Support Forces were the burial of young men from the Masalit tribe in Darfur alive because they were classified as a non-Arab African tribe.

This operation was accompanied by widespread arrests, as the number of detainees in the Rapid Support prisons reached more than 50,000 detainees, and human rights organizations monitored more than 1,100 cases of enforced disappearance, and hundreds of kidnapped women, some of whom were displayed in markets in Darfur and West African countries for sale, in a strange evocation of slave markets and human trafficking.

In terms of services, the Rapid Support Forces occupied about 95% of the health institutions in Khartoum State (about 624 hospitals, health centers, and treatment units), and turned most of them into headquarters for its forces, and kept some of them exclusively for treating its wounded, which deprived citizens who were unable to leave Khartoum State of medical services. This was repeated in Al-Jazeera State, and in 4 states in Darfur.

The Rapid Support Forces also took control of water production stations in Khartoum State, destroyed most of these stations, and deprived people of drinking water. They repeated the same thing in electricity production and distribution stations, and mobile and fixed telephone company switchboards, so water, electricity, and communication services were absent in Khartoum, Al-Jazeera, and Darfur, which is what the Zionists did in Gaza.

The destruction has affected educational institutions in all the states controlled by the Rapid Support Forces, destroying about 100 universities out of 130, destroying the laboratories of these universities, their libraries, and their academic data centers, and the intentional destruction has affected offices and classrooms, and this destruction has been repeated in schools as well, depriving about 3 million university students of their studies, and depriving more than 10 million students and pupils of their studies in all educational stages preceding university studies. The deliberate destruction by the Rapid Support Forces affected all research centers related to agricultural and industrial research, energy and oil research centers, and other scientific research centers. The destruction also affected 8 museums containing artifacts dating back to the Kush civilization in its various eras, which is considered one of the first human civilizations. The destruction also affected the National Archives, which holds historical documents related to Sudan and neighboring countries, some of which date back thousands of years. The library and archives of the official and private radio and television were not spared from destruction in an act aimed at erasing the national memory. It is worth noting that the destruction also affected land and real estate records, the civil registry, and other government records. The destruction affected the entire economic sector, as the Rapid Support Forces looted all banks in Khartoum, Al-Jazeera and Darfur, looted the Central Bank’s funds and Sudan’s gold reserves, destroyed oil wells and pipelines, and the Jelei refinery in Khartoum, destroyed 10 industrial areas in Khartoum, and destroyed industrial areas in the states they controlled, put 85% of factories out of service, and destroyed the infrastructure of the Al-Jazeera agricultural project, which is considered the mainstay of food security in Sudan. These forces also destroyed Khartoum Airport and burned 28 planes, which negatively and significantly affected the aviation sector, destroyed the gold refinery and looted 2 tons of gold that were ready for export, and the state and the private sector lost the resources that were achieved by various economic institutions and projects. All of this affected people’s lives and the price of the national currency, which fell from 600 pounds to the dollar to 1,400 pounds. Economic life stopped and people’s lives became a form of suffering, misery and deprivation.


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