In the Style of ISIS… Sudanese Army Beheads and Films Heads!

Day after day, the civil war in Sudan has been escalating since the conflict erupted between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces in mid-April 2023. From calls to arm civilians to field execution videos, and even to decapitations in the style of ISIS, the conflict has taken a gruesome turn as political solutions to stop the bloodshed and deteriorating conditions seem absent. Meanwhile, civilians, including women and children, fall victim to hunger and disease.

In Omdurman, where reports indicate that the Sudanese army repelled three members of the Rapid Support Forces, a widely circulated video shows an army officer accompanied by his soldiers brandishing severed human heads, apparently Sudanese from the western region, purportedly members of the Rapid Support Forces. No party has been able to confirm whether they were indeed soldiers or not, but it doesn’t matter! This scene of atrocious cruelty confirms that this army is indeed a terrorist militia. How can a regular professional army or even an armed revolutionary movement or a highway bandit gang capture individuals, fighters, or civilians, capture them in battle or ambush, slaughter them, decapitate their heads, film this scene, and threaten to continue?

For an army to adopt the gruesome ISIS style as its doctrine of warfare means the opening of a new chapter of war that will be disastrous for all, including these criminals and the army soldiers themselves.

How can an army claiming to be professional and competent engage in the beheading of prisoners and the staging of their corpses, broadcasting these images on social media?

The most horrific aspect of the video is not the sight of the soldier officially belonging to Ali Karti’s militia, officially known as the Sudanese army, grotesquely waving one of the severed heads towards the camera, but the words of his commander (the responsible officers) endorsing him, threatening more killings and beheadings for anyone who falls into their hands, repeatedly uttering the phrase “tani aye da3ami zi dah”, thus legitimizing this monstrous behavior contrary to all humane, religious, and moral laws.

In this context, the spokesman for the Rapid Support Forces issued a statement condemning this barbaric behavior as contrary to ethics, courage, religion, laws, and calling on the international community and human rights organizations to condemn these atrocities against the people.

But what matters to me in the statement of the spokesman for the Rapid Support Forces is the indication that his forces hold tens of thousands of prisoners from Al-Burhan‘s militia, but they will not follow this inhumane behavior and will not violate the prisoners’ rights.

This is good, but in my opinion, such behavior adopted by Karti’s and Al-Burhan‘s militias might incite some individual soldiers or officers of the Rapid Support Forces to seek individual revenge, or it might prompt some ethnic groups in Darfur and Kordofan to retaliate against civilians from the North and Central regions, thus opening the war to an ethnic context that spares no one, and this is a terrifying and horrible scenario that no one will be able to close if it happens.

After the spread of killings and slaughter on an ethnic basis of civilians starting from the battle of “Wad Madani”, not just ending with the last video, I fear the war might deviate from its course. The Rapid Support Forces could (slaughter) tens of thousands of officers and soldiers of the army who are prisoners to them in the same way. I am confident they will not, but no one can guarantee that some individual reactions will not emerge in response to the acts of Karti’s and Al-Burhan‘s militias.

Now, talking about restructuring the army and building a new army after the war is more crucial than ever. What we see before us is not an army because, alongside its weakness, cowardice, and continuous defeats suffered against the Rapid Support Forces, the cowardice of its leaders and their escape from the battlefield and the theater of operations, its adoption of an ISIS-like military doctrine has turned it into a religious terrorist organization that must be firmly dealt with.

Naturally, resorting to such behavior in wartime means one thing: the army has lost the battle and has become an ISIS-like terrorist militia whose only aim is to avenge this defeat. There is no way for it to seek revenge other than by massacring civilians or isolated prisoners, which is also a losing path that will only bring harm and disaster, and time is an impartial judge between us.”

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