• Thu. Dec 7th, 2023

Paramilitary leader Dagalo says General Burhan is led by Islamist radicals

General Dagalo, better known as Hemedti, claimed Sudanese army chief General Burhan was led by Islamist radicals (Image: Reuters)

General Dagalo, better known as Hemedti, claimed Sudanese army chief General Burhan was led by Islamist radicals (Image: Reuters)

Burhan told the BBC he was ready for a transition to civilian government, but said for negotiations to take place the ceasefire had to hold

The leader of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group, General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, told the news agency BBC that he will not hold talks if the fighting continues. General Dagalo, better known as Hemedti, said that after the truce was extended (until Sunday), his fighters were continuously bombarded.

“We don’t want to destroy Sudan. Cease hostilities. After that, we can have negotiations,” said General Dagalo, quoted by the BBC.

He said radical Islamists controlled the head of the armed forces, General Abdel-Fattah Burhan. “Burhan is led by the leaders of the radical Islamic front. I look forward to having a civilian government today – before tomorrow, an all-civilian government. This is my principle,” said Dagalo, quoted by the BBC.

Dagalo blamed Burhan for the violence as the latter tentatively agreed to hold face-to-face talks in South Sudan. The ceasefire was extended on Thursday but Khartoum residents and international news agencies said the fighting had not stopped.

News agencies said Khartoum witnessed airstrikes, tanks and artillery on Saturday as well as Friday, indicating the truce was fragile in nature.

Hemdeti said he was ready for talks but wanted the ceasefire to hold. He said BBC he has no personal problem with General Burhan but he considers him a traitor because he brought into the government followers of ousted former President Omar el-Bashir.

Bashir was ousted after mass protests in 2019.

Bashir’s government was known for following an Islamist ideology and imposing a strict version of Sharia (Islamic law).

Although Hemedti appeared to want the return of civilian rule, his role and that of his RSF in crushing rebellions in Sudan during the Darfur crisis of 2003-2004 is highlighted by several analysts speaking to international news agencies.

“We will not fight you. Please go back to your army divisions and we will not fight you,” Hemedti said. Hemedti also denied UN claims that the RSF chased people from their homes and looted and extorted civilians.

He told the BBC that they were Sudanese soldiers wearing RSF uniforms and intimidating civilians in order to spread a false narrative.

AFP in its report said trenches have been dug in parts of Khartoum as rival troops clash street by street.

“My team is working on the water and electricity supply of the areas we control. Unfortunately, all the technicians and engineers have disappeared,” said General Dagalo alias Hemedti.

At least 512 people have been killed and more than 4,193 injured in the fighting, Sudan’s health ministry said, but the true toll is expected to be higher.

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