Sudan Armed Forces Leader cancels talks and threatens lethal force
The leader of the Sudan Armed Forces, General Burhan, last night announced a suspension of all talks with the rebel forces previously known as the Rapid Support Forces under the command of General Daglo (Hemeti). Talks had been ongoing in Jeddah under the patronage of Saudi Arabia and in conjunction with envoys from the US, to allow representatives from both sides of the fighting to agree terms for establishing an humanitarian corridor. This was meant to ensure that desperately needed relief support would be able to reach the beleaguered non-combatant civilians caught in the middle of the fighting. An extension to the so-called ‘seven day humanitarian ceasefire’ was agreed only on Monday 29th May, under pressure from international parties.
A day after the extension was agreed, the violations continued
According to General Burhan, the ceasefire was violated less than a day later by the rebel forces. The latest announcement by General Burhan, may have come as a surprise to many. However, one senior army official who asked to remain anonymous, was clear that the action is being taken because the rebels:
‘have repeatedly violated the truce…[they] have never implemented a single one of the provisions of a short-term ceasefire, which required their withdrawal from hospitals and residential buildings’.
People are still trapped in their homes and continue to flee across borders to escape the fighting
The monitoring bodies and NGOs which include the World Food Programme, have been open about the shortcomings of the several ceasefires. They have made clear that although some desperately needed supplies have been able to get through, people were still trapped in their homes or had attempted to flee in large numbers across borders to escape the fighting. Civilians, they said continue to be used as human shields and fighting continues inside residential areas.
Gloves off! Now we will use lethal force
Now it seems the message from the leader of Sudan Armed Forces, is that he now intends to take the gloves off and will adopt a ‘maximum force’ strategy. As General Burhan, dressed in army fatigues and carrying an automatic weapon flung over his shoulder, toured and inspected his troops on the ground and addressed members of the Seventh Infantry Division at the HQ in Khartoum, he gave a speech urging all paramilitary combatants to comply with his directives or face ‘lethal force’. He said:
‘The army has refrained from deploying its full lethal force thus far, but it may be compelled to employ it should the enemy persist in disregarding or failing to respond to the voice of reason’.
Rebel soldiers should lay down their arms and report to be be demobbed and integrated
His directives included a requirement for all rebel combatants to lay down their arms, to attend nominated ‘gathering sites’, where they would eventually be formerly disarmed, demobbed and processed through the DDR (reintegration) process.
Burhan emphasised how he saw the role of the Sudan Armed Forces, to fight on behalf of the people of Sudan, who he said, despite the hardships they had been forced to endure, remained fully supportive of the armed forces.
Burhan’s command staffs were unequivocal that they would continue the fight until the rebel forces had completely withdrawn from residential neighbourhoods and hospitals, which in the past few weeks the rebels have seized and occupied.
Burhan declared ‘The army is ready to fight until victory’ and added ‘the army are the people and the people are the army’.