Sudanese Prime Minister calls for unified army after rising tensions | The powerful 790 KFGO
By Khalid Abdelaziz
KHARTOUM (Reuters) – The Sudanese prime minister on Tuesday called for a unified national army in a bid to protect a fragile political transition, amid tensions between the military and powerful Paramilitary Quick Support Forces (RSF).
“The big question today is whether Sudan will exist or not,” Abdalla Hamdok said at a press conference, denouncing “disturbing” divisions between and within civil and military factions.
Sudanese sources told Reuters that Hamdok is particularly concerned about the widening division between the army and RSF in recent weeks, and the potential for conflict if it continues.
Hamdok’s comments are the most explicit to date in an attempt to influence the military partners with whom he shares power since the overthrow of former leader Omar al-Bashir in 2019. His cabinet is under the Sovereign Council, headed by General Abdelfattah al-Burhan of the armed forces with RSF chief General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo as Burhan’s deputy.
In a statement released at the press conference, Hamdok called for the integration of the RSF into the armed forces, pending an agreement between the leaders of the two forces and the government.
Security sector reform was a national issue that required civilian involvement, he said.
Bashir has given RSF official military status, but it remains separate from the armed forces.
Sudan’s international allies, as well as some internal rebel groups, lobbied for the RSF, which emerged from the Janjaweed militias in Darfur, to be integrated into the national army.
Dagalo, commonly known as Hemedti, frequently complains that he and his forces have been demonized. He made public statements rejecting the integration of his forces.
The army and RSF have issued statements denying any conflict.
In central Khartoum, barriers were erected this month around the armed forces headquarters. RSF have separate facilities in Khartoum and other parts of the country.
Hamdok last week warned of the possibility of civil unrest instigated by loyalists of the former regime.
(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz, written by Nafisa Eltahir; edited by Aidan Lewis, William Maclean)