The head of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has proposed a plan for “lasting peace” in war-torn Sudan as his rival army chief is expected to embark on a regional trip.
Mohamed Hamdan “Hemedti” Dagalo, the head of the RSF, late Sunday published a 10-point plan by the paramilitary group that proposes new negotiations to end a war that began in mid-April, a war he claimed the RSF “did not seek, nor initiate”.
According to him, “Efforts to end the protracted crisis must be directed toward achieving a lasting ceasefire, coupled with comprehensive political solutions that address the root cause of Sudan’s wars.”
In order to avoid “structural violence” against large swaths of Sudanese population, Dagalo proposed a “non-symmetrical federal system” that would reflect the country’s regional, cultural, and ethnic diversity.
Most importantly, he suggested creating a new, apolitical, and cohesive army for Sudan by combining the country’s current forces. This army would be subject to civilian administration and adhere to internationally recognized standards.
However, as the horrific war approaches its 20th week, the general’s ideas, headlined Sudan Reborn and appearing to be in line with international calls for defining the country’s future, hardly match the realities on the ground.
For one, war broke out between the RSF and the Sudanese army shortly before the paramilitary force was supposed to be integrated into the army, which is led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, as part of a plan to restore civilian rule.
A coup led by the two generals in 2021, which happened after they joined forces to overthrow military ruler Omar al-Bashir’s rule in Sudan, forced civilian lawmakers out of office.
On the other side, Dagalo and the RSF have been implicated in both systematic sexual violence and ethnic cleansing, according to the United Nations and well-known human rights organizations and activists.
In the western region of Darfur, which was the scene of a genocidal war in the early 2000s involving forces that later evolved into the RSF, there have been widespread reports of killing African community members and rape since the start of the war.
The UN has issued a warning that the war “now threatens to consume the entire country” and the International Criminal Court has also said that it is looking into fresh war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
According to UN statistics, more than 4.6 million people have been forced to leave their homes since the start of the war. More than one million of them are believed to have fled to nearby nations like Chad and Egypt.