Al-Burhan of the Involvement of Islamists in the Fight

Al-Burhan in a Dilemma after Acknowledgment of Islamist Involvement in the Fight by Sudanese Army Commander

Mustafa Ibrahim, a member of the Advisory Bureau of the Rapid Support Forces Commander, First Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (Hemeti), confirmed that Yasser Al-Atta, Assistant to the Army Commander Abdul Fattah Al-Burhan, acknowledging the extensive participation of Islamist movements in the ongoing war in Sudan, exposes the falsity of al-Burhan‘s claims.

Al-Atta directed the formation of joint brigades from the army, police, intelligence, and volunteers to participate in the ongoing war in Sudan and ordered state governors and military leaders to continue arming, preparing, and training volunteers in all weapons.

Al-Atta said in a video circulated on social media on Monday while addressing a group of his soldiers, “The truth must be said, we have a very large number of Islamists with us.”

This statement marks the first acknowledgment by one of Sudan’s army leaders of the involvement of Islamists in the war that broke out on April 15 between the army and the Rapid Support Forces.

In an interview with the Arab News Agency on Monday, Ibrahim described Al-Atta’s statements as “turning current events into a civil war by even involving Sufis in this war.”

“Yasser Al-Atta implicated al-Burhan in this statement because he (the army chief) had previously denied the presence of Islamists in this war… Al-Atta confirmed clearly that extremist terrorist Islamic groups are participating in this war.”

Al-Burhan had repeatedly denied the involvement of the Islamic movement in the war, echoing in a famous speech: “Where are the Kizan?” alluding to the absence of a connection between the army forces and the Islamic movement.

Dagalo had revealed in a speech addressed to the United Nations General Assembly last month the Sovereignty Council’s relationship with extremist Islamists and remnants of the former regime and the dissolved National Congress Party.

He spoke of the relationship between army leaders and extremist Islamists, including ISIS leaders, saying: “Elements of the ‘ISIS’ organization, including its leader Mohammed Ali Al-Gizouli, whom we arrested, have allied with the armed forces and now threaten stability and security in Africa.”

Evidence of Islamist involvement in the conflict was the killing of the head of the thought and roots system in the Islamic movement, Mohamed Al-Fadl, last June in clashes between the Rapid Support Forces and the army, according to his relatives and Islamists who stated he was fighting alongside the army. The Secretary-General of the Islamic Movement, Ali Karti, issued a mourning statement for him.

Ibrahim considered that the directive to form these brigades was an attempt to push the country into a civil war in which society participates, stating that these directives were “irresponsible because they call on society to participate in the war, although it is a war between the Rapid Support Forces and the army and conducted by a person defeated in battles against the Rapid Support Forces.”

Earlier this month, al-Burhan welcomed popular resistance, stating: “We will arm them, and any weapon we have, we will give it to them, but it must be regulated and registered by the law enforcement agencies, so as not to cause problems in the future.”

Al-Burhan said in a speech to the army forces at the Jebel Military Base in eastern Sudan at that time: “In any area where there is a confrontation, or where the enemy is expected to go to loot its homes, we will give them weapons, and if they have weapons, let them bring them. Sudan is now in a make-or-break battle, and the people are determined to live in dignity or under slavery and colonialism.”

What is known as popular resistance is active in mobilizing and training populations in weapon handling in areas controlled by the Sudanese army, where thousands have joined its ranks in the states of the Nile River and the North in Sudan, and in the states of Sennar, Blue Nile, and Kassala in the east, Port Sudan, as well as in the White Nile in the country’s center, to participate alongside the armed forces in their fight against the Rapid Support Forces.

However, Ibrahim said: “We in the Rapid Support Forces reassure the international community that we will put an end to these attempts that affect the international and regional region and work to spread extremists and terrorists belonging to ISIS… We are ready to confront these actions fiercely, our forces are ready now, and we will pursue them wherever they are.”

He called on the international community and the Security Council “to take decisions to protect the Sudanese people, including imposing an aviation embargo on areas that are not currently witnessing conflicts such as the remote Darfur states, where civilians are almost daily bombarded, as well as in the states of Kordofan”, noting that a very large number of civilian sites were bombed in Kordofan last Sunday.

The fighting between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces erupted last April, after weeks of tension between the two sides due to disagreements over plans to integrate the Rapid Support Forces into the army. This came after Islamists ignited the conflict by targeting the Rapid Support Forces, at a time when both military and civilian parties were finalizing a politically supported process. 

Since then, each party has accused the other of committing war crimes against civilians and seeking to ignite a civil war in the country, where more than 13,000 people have been killed and 26,000 injured, and about 7.6 million people have been displaced inside and outside the country due to this war, according to UN estimates.

For his part, Pasha Tabiq, advisor to the commander of the Rapid Support Forces, considered the statements of the army commander’s assistant “confirming what we have been talking about throughout the period since the outbreak of the war until now, that this war is being led by extremists. Therefore, he now confirms fully that this war is not the war of the national army but the war of extremists to return to power.”

Tabiq told the Arab News Agency, “This statement also exacerbates the suffering of the Sudanese people and helps to prolong the war, because this war could now become a war of militias rather than a war led by an organized army, and everyone knows the methods of extremists in war and the atrocities they commit against civilians in other countries.”

He added, “We have plans and tactics to deal with all extremist groups that currently lead the army, and with those who hide behind popular mobilization, or what they call popular resistance to hide their true nature.”

He continued, “We in the Rapid Support Forces are fully prepared for any emergency and for any forces that are formed, and we stress that we do not target the Sudanese people in any geographical area of Sudan, but what we target are those who lead this war and who are putting oil on the fire to exploit this war and destroy the country’s infrastructure.”

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