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Asharq Al-Awsat
Asharq Al-Awsat
London – Aidroos Abdulaziz

Hemedti to Asharq Al-Awsat: We Have Control of Khartoum, We Don’t Fear Foreign Meddling

Commander of Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) General Mohamed Hamdan “Hemedti” Daglo. (Reuters)

General Mohamed Hamdan “Hemedti” Daglo, commander of Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) stressed that his forces are now in complete control of the capital Khartoum’s three main districts: Khartoum, Khartoum Bahri and Omdurman.

In an interview to Asharq Al-Awsat, he added that the RSF is working closely with the citizens to find solutions to water and electricity problems and shortages in over services.

He added that it was unfortunate that the Sudanese people have to endure such dire humanitarian conditions as a result of the conflict.

“This is largely the responsibility of those who sparked the war,” he stated.

Moreover, Hemedti revealed that his forces agreed to the humanitarian truce to ease the suffering of the people. He expressed his gratitude to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and United States for their efforts aimed at ending the war.

Commenting on the conflicting information about the situation on the ground, he explained that the “coupist armed forces and their backers from the ousted regime are fabricating lies and misleading the media.”

“A short trip to the cities of the capital will eliminate any claims and set the records straight,” he added.

“Our forces are in complete control of Khartoum and have greatly outmatched the coupists and remnants of the former regime,” Hemedti declared.

Asked to specify which areas the RSF is holding, he replied that there are too many to count, but confirmed that the three main districts of Khartoum are under the RSF’s control. He declined to divulge his forces’ next moves or their field plans.

“Some describe the declaration of victories as a attempt to raise morale. How do you comment on this?” asked Asharq Al-Awsat.

“Perhaps this applies to the other party that is trying to draw up an unrealistic image. Our control on the ground reflects the extent and reality of these victories,” replied Hemedti.

Asked if the battles will end some time soon, he remarked that the end cannot be predicted through assumptions, but through the situation on the field.

“We hope to put this chapter behind us as soon as possible to ease the suffering of our people. We have repeatedly said that the war was never our choice, but it was imposed on us and we were forced to defend ourselves and the aspirations of our people who refuse the return of the ousted regime,” Hemedti stressed.

Commenting on the 72-hour ceasefire and whether it can be extended, he first expressed his gratitude to the US, specifically Secretary of State Antony Blinken, for their efforts to that end. “Blinken was in constant communication with us. We also thank friendly and fraternal countries, especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE,” he added.

“We agreed to the truce to ease the suffering of the people and open humanitarian corridors. However, the other side did not commit to the conditions of the ceasefire and continued to violate it. In fact, it committed major atrocities against innocent civilians, who were hit by air strikes and artillery fire,” Hemedti went on to say.

“Those who cannot commit to a 72-hour ceasefire are unlikely to commit to any pledges in the near or distant future,” he noted.

Moreover, he revealed that the “coup forces and remnants of the former regime are running their battles against us from several command centers. More than one side is running the military, so which side can we cooperate with over a ceasefire?”

The people are suffering from a lack of water and electricity, hospitals have gone out of service, banks and shops have been shut and there are real fears of famine.

“It is unfortunate that the people have to suffer such humanitarian conditions. This is largely on the shoulders of those who sparked the war,” Hemedti stated. “We are working with the people to find immediate solutions to these problems and we will reach them.”

Addressing claims that the RSF members are undisciplined and using the people as human shields, he replied: “This is propaganda promoted by the leaders of the coup and their backers from the remnants of the extremist former regime. They are seeking to tarnish our image before the local and international public. We have grown accustomed to such lies.”

“Our forces are exerting great efforts and have thwarted many plots, including the latest coup. We have largely helped evacuate foreigners from the country. How can undisciplined forces commit such acts?” Hemedti added.

“It is the leaders of the armed coup that are using the people as human shields. Their barracks are located in residential areas, while ours are not,” he emphasized.

“The coupists have killed the people in air strikes and shelled neighborhoods. As for the diplomatic missions, you can ask them if they were evacuated by the RSF or not. We have evacuated over 30 missions, as well as foreign residents from a number of countries,” he continued.

Furthermore, Hemedti denied that he had received an initiative from the National Umma Party to hold a meeting with army chief Abdul Fattah al-Burhan. “We never received such an initiative,” he stressed to Asharq Al-Awsat.

Commenting on fears that the conflict could turn into a civil war given the several armies and lack of security in the country, he remarked: “The coupist commanders of the armed forces and their extremist supporters from the former regime are seeking a civil war.”

“We are coordinating with several parties to maintain security and stability in the country and ease the dangers that could emerge from this war,” he added.

Asharq Al-Awsat asked if he feared foreign meddling playing a role in the conflict, to which he replied: “I don’t believe this is true. The regional countries are working closely on the security and stability of Sudan and the entire region. Of course, they will not interfere in a purely Sudanese affair.”

“You have repeatedly said that your war is not with the army, but its command and the Islamists,” said Asharq Al-Awsat.

“Yes, this is the truth. We are fighting the coupist commanders of the armed forces and their extremist backers from the former regime,” he responded.

“The facts were revealed in the statement released by Ahmed Haroun, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court, when he confirmed the coordination and participation of the so-called ‘Mujahideen Brigades’ and ‘Civil Defense’ with the armed forces in this war,” Hemedti stressed.

“The remnants of the regime are in control of decision-making positions in the army, but some honorable members in the military oppose the situation,” he remarked.

Hemedti declined to divulge the size of his forces.

Asked if he believed that parties will again return to the Framework Agreement, he replied: “Yes, this will happen after the defeat or surrender of the coupist commanders of the armed forces. This is a vow we made before our people and we do not renege on vows.”

Addressing reports that members of the ousted regime had fled prison, he said it was expected. “This was part of the coup that was arranged by the commanders of the armed forces with the remnants of the regime.”

“This was all arranged by Burhan and his allies in the military and extremists in the former regime,” he added.

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