The Rapid Support Forces are intensifying their military operations to control army bases in the Darfur, Kordofan, and Khartoum regions, after successfully expanding their influence on multiple fronts. They are currently preparing to move to El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state, with an emphasis on their readiness for peace if the Sudanese army responds.
Despite consecutive military successes, a military source close to the Rapid Support Forces mentioned that they intend to maintain the situation in government institutions as it is to avoid escalation in conjunction with the Jeddah negotiations between the army and the Rapid Support Forces since last Thursday.
Battles renewed between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces on Thursday around the General Army Command in eastern Khartoum and at the Engineers’ Arm in South Omdurman, according to witnesses and residents.
Witnesses said they heard loud explosions around the Army Command and saw thick smoke rising from the area. Residents spoke of fierce clashes between the army and the Rapid Support Forces around the Engineers’ Arm in South Omdurman.
Al-Burhan attacked Dagalo, saying, “You have nothing left… there is no army fighting. You are now defending the General Command from inside the basement, and every day we advance and will take it from you.”
The Rapid Support Forces announced on Wednesday that they had taken over the 21st Brigade’s headquarters of the army in Zalingei, the capital of Central Darfur state, a few days after they seized the 16th Brigade’s headquarters in Nyala, South Darfur state, the second-largest city in Sudan and the army’s command center in the western states.
The military attacks carried out by the Rapid Support Forces on the military protectorate of the Sudanese army in Nyala and the second in terms of size and importance after Khartoum were not just routine attacks in terms of mobilization and early preparation to attack the strategic city and take control of it.
Dagalo said that the army had attacked them with Antonov shells. He called on al-Burhan to lift his hand from the armed forces and called on what he described as elements of the previous regime within the army to surrender to his forces.
He stressed that they are for genuine peace. He called on the citizens in the areas controlled by the Rapid Support Forces to form local administrations consisting of their own sons as executive directors, excluding the “Kaizan.”
He confirmed that the leaders of the 21st Brigade in Zalingei withdrew from the command headquarters, denying at the same time the army’s withdrawal from the command headquarters in Nyala but described it as a defeat. He also mocked his forces as foreign invaders from Niger, while emphasizing social interaction between Sudanese and neighboring countries.
Dagalo is keen on involving the various armed movements in managing the crisis, praising the role of the armed struggle movements and calling on them to secure the areas controlled by the Rapid Support Forces. He also called on them not to allow the army to resort to them when fleeing from facing the Rapid Support Forces, similar to what happened in El Fasher on Wednesday.
In recent times, there have been notable positions taken by some armed movements, especially in the Darfur region, such as the Sudan Liberation Movement, whose leader and regional governor, Minni Arko Minnawi, confirmed that he is in contact with the Rapid Support Forces. Days earlier, the Sudan Liberation Movement, a faction of Minnawi and the Justice and Equality Movement led by Jibril Ibrahim, disassociated themselves from a statement by the armed movements signing the peace agreement, describing the Rapid Support Forces as “rebel militias” and calling for their accountability.
Dagalo expressed his surprise at the continued involvement of individuals from the Islamic Movement who are not members of the movement in the fighting. He said that the Islamic Movement, especially Ali Karti, Osama Abdul Allah, and Salah Gosh, are the ones managing al-Burhan. He explained that the targeting of the Rapid Support Forces was due to their participation in the change on April 11, then pressuring to sign the Juba Peace Agreement and the Framework Agreement.
Negotiations between the army and the Rapid Support Forces resumed last Thursday, which had started in Jeddah in May under the sponsorship of Saudi Arabia and the United States, and succeeded in reaching several short-term ceasefires. The fighting between the two sides erupted in mid-April after weeks of tension between the parties, while the military and civilian parties were putting the finishing touches on a politically-backed international process.