Sudan Communist Party demands dissolution of brutal Janjaweed paramilitary forces and Yemen troop withdrawal

Sudan Communist Party demands dissolution of brutal Janjaweed paramilitary forces and Yemen troop withdrawal
The Sudanese opposition party called for the dissolution of the paramilitary forces and for Sudan to withdraw from the war in Yemen.
3 min read
25 July, 2019
The Sudanese armed forces have reportedly partially withdrawn from Yemen [AFP]

Sudan's Communist Party on Wednesday demanded the dissolution of a government paramilitary force widely held responsible for the massacre of more than a hundred people last month.

The opposition party also warned that a yet-to-be-signed "constitutional agreement" between the ruling military junta and the opposition Alliance for Freedom and Change (AFC) would "enshrine military rule" and maintain laws restricting freedoms, Al-Jazeera reported.

Protesters across Sudan will take to the streets on Thursday to renew their call for a transitional government led by technocrats.

The party, which has taken an active role in opposing both the regime of former President Omar al-Bashir and the military junta that displaced it, also urged the complete withdrawal of the Sudanese armed forces from Yemen.

Sudan has been an active member in the brutal Saudi-led coalition war on Yemen since it began in 2015.

Its participation in the war was later reaffirmed by the country's military after it seized power from Bashir in April. Military junta leader Abd al-Fattah al-Burhan was previously in charge of sending Sudanese troops to Yemen.

Turkey's state news agency Anadolu, citing a spokesman for the Yemeni army, reported on Wednesday that the Sudanese armed forces had partially withdrawn from the war-torn nation, which the United Nations says is struck by the world's worst humanitarian crisis with millions on the brink of starvation.

Following the earlier withdrawal of UAE troops from the same areas, Yemeni armed forces will replace the Sudanese troops around Hodeidah.

A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition speaking to the UAE-based The National denied reports of a Sudanese partial withdrawal.

Who are the RSF?

The Communist Party on Wednesday called for the disbandment of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

The RSF is an officialised paramilitary offshoot of the Janjaweed militias, widely accused of having committed war crimes and genocide during the Darfur conflict.

The paramilitary forces, which many Sudanese simply refer to as the "Janjaweed", are commanded by the current deputy leader of Sudan, Mohammad Hamdan Dagalo, and have been accused of leading the brutal dispersal of a mass sit-in in the capital Khartoum last month that killed 127 people.

Prior to its widespread deployment in the capital and other cities across Sudan, the RSF was mainly responsible for battling rebel groups in the country's conflict zones of Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

Dagalo's RSF is widely accused of recruiting child soldiers.

The New York Times last year reported that RSF child soldiers as young as 14 are frequently seen on the frontlines in Yemen.

Activists say that Saudi and UAE funding has enabled Dagalo, popularly known by his nickname Himedti, to offer young Darfuris living in extreme poverty a comparatively lucrative wage in order to fight in Yemen - and more recently in the Sudanese capital.

Rights groups say the paramilitary militia has perpetrated major human rights violations in those areas.

The RSF is also responsible for rounding up and deporting refugees and migrants, most of whom are Somalis, Eritreans and Ethiopians, attempting to cross the desert to reach Europe.

The EU has given Sudan more than $250 million to combat migration as part of a $5 billion fund to combat migration from Africa to Europe. Critics say that money has been funnelled into Sudan's feared security services and the RSF and has emboldened rights abuses against migrants.

An EU spokesperson speaking to Deutsche Welle earlier this week said that a German-led project that organises training and equipment for Sudanese border guards and police has been "halted" since mid-March.