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Sudan general says military leaders clinging to power


CAIRO — A powerful paramilitary commander Tuesday slammed Sudan’s ruling generals, saying they oppose stepping down to allow for a democratic transition under a civilian administration.

Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, commander of Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces, said his conflict with other military leaders, which has become public in recent weeks, is centered on the issue of handing over power to civilians.

“We are against those who stand against (handing over power to a civilian government),” he told RSF troops at a military base in the capital of Khartoum. “We are against anyone who wants to be a dictator.”

Sudan was plunged into chaos after a military coup removed a Western-backed government in October 2021, stalling its short-lived transition to democracy after nearly three decades of autocratic rule under President Omar al-Bashir. The coup came more than two years after a popular uprising forced the removal of al-Bashir and his Islamist government in April 2019.

Under mounting pressure, the generals and pro-democracy groups reached an initial agreement in December that would allow the formation of a civilian government. Other groups, including rebels, opposed the deal and internationally backed talks were still ongoing to have them join the Framework Agreement, a condition the military has set to hand over power to civilians.

The dispute between Dagalo and other military generals has escalated in recent weeks. The RSF commander, who is backed by the United Arab Emirates, has recently become critical of other military leaders, partly over handing over the issue of handing power to civilians but also over the incorporation of his powerful force into the military as stated in the Framework Agreement.

The rhetoric has fueled concerns of possible clashes between his paramilitary force, best known for its scorched-earth campaigns in the Darfur conflict, and the military.

In his speech, Dagalo watered down the tensions between his forces and the military as an institution.

“There is no problem between the military and the Rapid Support (Forces),” he told cheering RSF troops. “We want to achieve a true democratic transition. We want this country to rise.”

Dagalo did not offer evidence to support his claim that the country’s military leaders are opposed to handing over power to civilians. But he was apparently referring to Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, chairman of the ruling sovereign council.

Both Burhan and Dagalo led the 2021 coup. However, Dagalo has in recent months sought to reinvent his public image and that of his forces. He portrayed himself as a defender of the restoration of democratic transition, describing the coup as a “mistake.”

In his speech Tuesday, Dagalo said that foreign countries including wealthy Gulf monarchies and European governments have made restoring the democratic transition a condition for resuming assistance to Sudan.

Many foreign governments and international institutions ceased providing aid to Sudan following the coup and have pressed Burhan and Dagalo to rescind their grip on power.

*This story has not been edited by The Infallible staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.