Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has seized the majority of the western Darfur region in a shock collapse of the Sudanese army that has huge implications for the six-month-old war.
The development comes as talks between the warring parties in Jeddah, held under the auspices of the United States and Saudi Arabia, failed to achieve any breakthroughs.
Leading the charge in Darfur is Abdul Rahim Hamdan Dagalo, brother of the RSF leader Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, a man better known as Hemeti.
Under Abdul Rahim Hamdan Dagalo, the RSF in recent weeks has secured control of four of Darfur’s five states.
Only North Darfur and its state capital al-Fasher remain in the hands of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF). Yet there are signs that SAF presence there, too, is at risk.
The paramilitary force also appears to be cementing its presence in the region by establishing its own local administrative authorities, another step towards the Sudanese state’s fragmentation as SAF leaders work to form a “war government” in Port Sudan on the eastern coast.
Soon after talks in Jeddah opened on 29 October, the RSF symbolically began publishing footage of its forces in full control of Nyala and Zalingi, the state capitals of south and central Darfur, respectively.
There have been clashes in Nyala from the beginning of the conflict, but in August the RSF began a new push to take the city with disastrous results.
Witnesses previously told Middle East Eye of mass killings, sexual violence, looting of homes and attacks on health facilities, as well as other services.
Sudanese who recently fled Nyala, the country’s second-largest city after Khartoum, told MEE the RSF now has full control and has set up its own administration there.
Source: Middle East Eye