US envoy to Sudan meets with military council deputy accused of conflict zone abuses

US envoy to Sudan meets with military council deputy accused of conflict zone abuses
US envoy to Khartoum Steven Koutsis on Sunday met with Mohammed Hamdan Daglo, or Himediti, the deputy leader of Sudan's new military transitional council.
2 min read
14 April, 2019
Himeidti's Rapid Support Forces has its origins in the Janjaweed militias of Darfur [AFP]

Sudan's new military rulers met with Washington's top envoy to Khartoum on Sunday to discuss security in the country after the army ousted Omar al-Bashir, state media reported.

After months of widespread popular protests, the military on Thursday overthrew Bashir - just shy of 30 years in power - and set up a military council it says will rule the country for the next two years.

Steven Koutsis met with the transitional military council's deputy leader Mohammad Hamdan Daglo, known as "Himeidti", at the presidential palace in Khartoum.

Himeidti is the head of Sudan's Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary anti-insurgency force with its origins in the Janjaweed militias of the Darfur conflict.

The Sudanese regime is alleged to have recruited, funded and armed the Janjaweed who committed mass rape, murder, war crimes and genocide in West Darfur and other regions, according to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Himediti briefed Koutsis on the current situation in Sudan and the reason for forming the military council, state news agency SUNA reported.

The deputy leader also told the US envoy how the military council would "preserve the security and stability of the country".

Under Himedti, the RSF has fought against rebel groups in the conflict areas of Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan, but it has also been accused of crimes and human rights violations against civilians in those areas.

The RSF has also been 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.

Sudan's military council is headed by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who took power after his predecessor General Awad Ibn Auf stepped down on Friday.

As former commander of the army's ground forces and inspector general of the army, Burhan oversaw the deployment of Sudanese troops to Yemen as part of the Saudi-led coalition.

Thousands of Sudanese children from Darfur have been recruited by Saudi Arabia to fight in the war in Yemen, The New York Times reported in December.

Sudanese soldiers who fought in Yemen told the Times that between 20 to 40 percent of their units were made up of child soldiers.