Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the leader of the Rapid Support Forces in Sudan, known as “Hemeti,” blamed the former president Omar al-Bashir’s regime, allied with the Sudanese army led by Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, for the outbreak of the Sudanese war on April 15th last year.
This came during his speech before the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, following a similar speech by al-Burhan. In a recorded speech, Dagalo explained that the al-Bashir regime, which the people rose against, was the one that ignited the chaos. He confirmed that the armed forces reject the democratic transition, seemingly an attempt to clarify the Rapid Support Forces’ vision of the Sudanese situation and convey it to the international community in the face of the army’s propaganda.
Hemeti described the head of the Sovereignty Council as illegitimate and said he speaks falsely on behalf of Sudan. He emphasized that the country is going through its biggest war in history, ignited by the previous regime, stressing that they are struggling to restore the democratic path. However, the army leaders and members of the former regime seek to remain in power.
He accused the army of violating all ceasefires, saying, “We genuinely engaged in Jeddah negotiations and presented a vision to stop the war that caused significant destruction in Khartoum.” He expressed the readiness of the Rapid Support Forces to cease fire and engage in comprehensive political talks to end the conflict with the army.
Dagalo revealed details of the early days of the war and the army’s siege of camps belonging to the Rapid Support Forces south of Khartoum.
He said, “I called the army commander and UN mission chief Volker Perthes and others to prevent any turmoil or crisis that could lead to war. But shortly after my phone calls, the forces besieging the Rapid Support Forces began to attack them, while the Sudanese Armed Forces’ air force began intensive aerial attacks on the Rapid Support Forces‘ camps and positions.” “There was no option for us but to exercise our natural and legitimate right to self-defense, and this was the beginning of the war that destroyed Khartoum and displaced more than 4 million citizens. It also displaced thousands in Darfur and Kordofan and caused a humanitarian crisis in the areas where military operations are taking place,” he added.
Dagalo spoke about the relationship between army leaders and extremist Islamists, including leaders of ISIS, saying, “Elements from the ISIS organization, including its leader, Mohammed Ali al-Jazouli, and the killers of US aid worker John Granville, are participating in the battles.”
He added that the involvement of terrorists indicates the possibility of Sudan becoming a new stage for the activities of terrorist groups threatening international peace and security in Africa. He also mentioned that the army, as part of its alliance with Islamists, issued calls for civilians to participate in the war.
He stressed the need for peaceful solutions to end the Sudanese crisis with the aim of reaching civilian democratic rule, saying, “The system of government must be civilian and democratic, based on fair and free elections at all levels of government.” He also called for the establishment and building of a new Sudanese army from the current multiple armies to create a single national professional military institution.
Dagalo called for the liquidation of illegitimate monopolistic tendencies to power and influence, whether ideological, radical, partisan, tribal, family, or narrow regional.
He called for the involvement of the widest possible political and social base, including political parties, civil society organizations, interest groups, and women from all regions of Sudan.
Hemeti’s stance comes after a speech by al-Burhan before the United Nations General Assembly to promote his narrative about the conflict in the country, while his forces continue to use warplanes in residential areas, in ongoing violation of international laws, with the aim of sustaining the armed conflict.