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Sudan: who is General "Hemeti" Dagalo, the man close to Russia who is behind the attempted coup

Coming from a Chadian Arab clan of the Rizeigat tribe, at the outbreak of war in Darfur Dagalo assumed command of the notorious Janjaweed militias ("demons on horseback"), who were responsible for heinous war crimes and crimes against humanity

© Agenzia Nova - Reproduction reserved

After days of very strong tensions, the situation in Sudan seems to have worsened. The Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the paramilitary militias led by General Mohamed Hamdan “Hemeti” Dagalo, have in fact claimed the seizure of the Presidential Palace of Khartoum, the headquarters of the national television and the main airports of the country, including that of the capital. Dagalo, a man close to the Saudis and Russians and considered the real "strong man" of the country after the dismissal of President Omar al Bashir, is the main architect of what is happening. Coming from a Chadian Arab clan of the Rizeigat tribe, originally from Darfur, at the outbreak of war in Darfur, in 2003, Dagalo assumed command of the infamous Janjaweed militias ("demons on horseback"), who were responsible for heinous war crimes and against humanity, and became head of the RSF from 2013, when they were established as part of a restructuring of the former Janjaweed militias. Formed under the command of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), the RSF currently have over 100 men deployed in bases throughout the country, officially employed to combat smuggling and trafficking in human beings on the border with Libya.

In fact, the militia powers of Give him and its men go well beyond these tasks. In November 2017, for example, Dagalo used his men to take control of gold mines in the Darfur region, which made him one of the richest people in Sudan. His brother Abdul Rahim, number two of the RSF, heads the company Al Junaid (or Al Gunade), involved in the extraction and trade of gold in Sudan. The paramilitary militias loyal to Dagalo are also responsible for the bloody repression of the protests that erupted before the deposition of Bashir, which took place in April 2019, and later after the October 2021 coup to demand the restoration of a civilian-led government.

In 2015 it was Dagalo himself who sent - in agreement with the Sudanese army - his men to Yemen to fight alongside the Saudi-led coalition, a choice that allowed him to forge very close ties with the Gulf powers. Dagalo's other iron ally is Russia, in particular the Wagner paramilitary group. In March 2022, the US charge d'affaires in Khartoum and the envoys of the United Kingdom and Norway - components of the so-called Troika for Sudan - strongly and openly condemned the presence and operations of the Wagner group in Sudan, mainly linked to disinformation and illegal gold mining (directly controlled by Dagalo and his family). It is also worth remembering that "Hemeti" himself was in Moscow on the day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, February 24, to discuss with the Sudanese authorities the project to build a Russian military base which should be built in Port Sudan on the Red Sea.

Despite having taken part in the coup d'état of October 2021, which marked the end of the civilian-led transitional government of Abdullah Hamdok, has since distanced himself from it and last February called it a "mistake". A statement that highlighted a growing rift between him and the head of the Transitional Sovereign Council, as well as army chief, Abdel Fattah al Burhan. The differences, which had now degenerated into open confrontation, had already been evident for several weeks, above all in relation to the management of security in the country in view of the formation of a civilian government. The sore point, in particular, is that relating to the integration of the RSF into the regular army. Based on the timing dictated in the previous agreements, the parties should have announced a new prime minister and other members of the future civilian government on 11 April, and even before that, signed a final agreement for the transition between 1 and 6 April. Now the situation seems to have completely precipitated and the shadow of a new coup - this time personally orchestrated by Dagalo - is becoming increasingly concrete, with extremely uncertain prospects in a strategic country for the international geopolitical arena.

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© Agenzia Nova - Reproduction reserved


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