Sudan’s military rejects civilian transition, vows to punish RSF backers

Sudan’s Assistant Army Commander, Yasser al-Atta, reiterated the military’s stance on Saturday, refusing to relinquish power to civilians until elections are organized. He also vowed to hold accountable those perceived as supporting the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) during the ongoing conflict.

Al-Atta spoke to a delegation from the National Forces Coordination, a newly formed alliance led by Deputy Chairman of the Sovereign Council Malik Agar. This coalition is expected to sign a political declaration with the army soon. The army and its allies have accused the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) coalition of being the RSF’s political base, a charge the FFC has consistently denied.

Addressing the National Forces Coordination leaders at an Omdurman military base, Al-Atta declared, “The army will not cede power to civilian forces without elections. During the transitional period, the head of state will be the armed forces commander.”

He further threatened accountability for those deemed to have supported the RSF. “Any agent or traitor will be treated like the Janjaweed (a notorious militia accused of war crimes) because they support them,” he stated. “Their status, name, or popularity won’t matter.”

Al-Atta revealed that at the war’s outset, he requested leaders outside the FFC to influence the FFC Central Council faction to change their minds about the war. “However,” he added, “the time for discussion is over. Justice will be served according to the law.”

Since the overthrow of al-Bashir’s regime, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Chairman of the Sovereign Council, has repeatedly advocated for continued military rule with a technocratic cabinet until general elections are held.

Al-Atta’s remarks sparked outrage among FFC leaders, who condemned the targeted language. Yasir Arman and Khalid Omer Youssif, in separate statements, interpreted al-Atta’s words as revealing the true motive for the war: the military’s complete power restoration and the sidelining of civilian forces.

Arman called for an immediate focus on ceasefire efforts, prioritizing peacemaking without linking it to the political process at this stage. He emphasized the need for active civilian and FFC involvement, contrasting it with the past isolated negotiations held in Manama and Jeddah.

Similarly, Khalid Omer Youssif stressed that the war aims to extinguish hopes for a democratic civilian transition.

Dismantling Janjaweed

Al-Atta further outlined the military’s objectives in the ongoing conflict with the paramilitary forces. He emphasized the army’s unwavering commitment to dismantling the RSF, viewing their presence as a significant obstacle to building a stable Sudanese state.

He accused the RSF of systematic attempts to seize control of key state institutions, including the police, security services, judiciary, Central Bank, and Ministry of Finance. He further alleged that the RSF has been bolstering its military power with the goal of ultimately dominating the entire nation.

“The Rapid Support Forces’ ultimate objective,” al-Atta claimed, “is to establish an Arab state in Darfur. If complete control of Sudan proves elusive, they plan to expand into Kordofan through the ethnic cleansing and expulsion of the Nuba people towards South Sudan.”

The Assistant Commander also announced the army’s imminent deployment in Khartoum, Khartoum North, and Jabal Aulia. He justified this move by pointing out that most of the army’s previous strongholds in these areas are currently under RSF control.

Al-Atta outlined the planned military operations. Forces currently besieging Al-Jazirh State will reportedly move on to White Nile State, then to North Darfur’s capital, El-Obeid. These forces will then converge with troops from Omdurman to establish operational bases in Kordofan and North Darfur.

Regarding potential Islamist participation in the conflict, al-Atta acknowledged the existence of 12 battalions of armed popular resistance fighting alongside the army in Omdurman. These groups, he said, represent various political factions.

“We don’t deny anyone the right to defend their homeland, honour, and livelihood,” al-Atta stated. “We have no authority to revoke citizenship or prevent anyone from defending their country, honour, and belonging.”

Source: Sudan Tribune

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