Army shows off video of old men signing up to fight
Grandfather says he signed up to fight "rape, theft"
The above video shows a group of about 12 mostly older men who answered the recent call of President Abdel Fatteh Al Burhan to take up arms. They were received by the commander of the Armored Corps at the base in Jabra on the first day of Eid Al Adha.
In the second scene of the video, the volunteer says he reported to Armored Corps “to protect life,” adding that they are fed up with the crimes of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
Burhan’s speech June 27 has widely been called a “mobilization,” but in fact it was only an appeal. Sudan has not instituted conscription in response to the crisis. Some frontline units continue to lack manpower and they have been outnumbered by RSF in many recent engagements.
Judging by the above video, among others, the process for joining the Sudanese army right now is not complicated. If you live in one of the many neighborhoods around Armored Corps, for example, you could walk to it, answer some basic questions about your background, perhaps fill out some paperwork, and then you’d be given a weapon.
Note that in his speech June 27, Burhan said that the youth and all those who were capable should not “hesitate or delay in playing this national role in their place of residence or by joining the armed forces.” There is therefore a deliberate blurring of lines between those who are formally enrolled soldiers and those who are just armed civilian volunteers from the neighborhoods. Perhaps it is not always clear on paper either. There could be different administrative arrangements made by SAF commanders in different areas, and by the security services that historically liaised with armed civilian groups.
I’m not sure why the army’s information office decided to broadcast the above video, because from a military point of view it is somewhat disheartening. (The army will need tens of thousands young men to defeat the RSF militarily). On the other hand, the video showcases a spirit of sacrifice and duty because older men are under less social pressure to join the army.
Lastly, as I watched this it struck me what a huge contrast there is between this group and the youths and child soldiers who fill the ranks of the RSF. Although the group in the video is not representative of the overall demographics of the army, which is generally youthful, I do think the average age in the army is probably a few years older than the average age in the RSF.
Fire Damage in Soba Industrial Area
Satellite imagery that is publicly available online from NASA and Sentinel Hub can show us where fires have recently burned. That can give clues about where conflict may have taken place (though of course some fires are accidental).
Open source analyst @mustapro (Mustafa) published his findings yesterday that there was fire damage at the Savola Oil Factory in Soba in southeastern Khartoum, June 26. The location is toward the southern end of RSF control (or possibly outside of their control—it is not confirmed. There have been previous reports of RSF presence southeast of this location in Al Bageir). The fire is another setback to Sudan’s industrial and commercial sectors, which have already suffered enormously. Mechanized farms near the capital also have been damaged.
Areas of RSF Control
Also yesterday, OSINT geolocation specialist Haytham Hamid confirmed locations of RSF troops in a propaganda video that they published on the occasion of Eid Al Adha. The video included greeting messages from different groups of fighters standing in front of landmarks in Khartoum, Nyala, Taiba Camp, and Al Genieina.
I was particularly interested in this video because it provides fresh datapoints to understand the extent of RSF control in various areas (though it was already well-known that RSF controlled certain landmarks in the video, such as Manshia Bridge).
Haytham’s work confirms, for example, that RSF remain in control of the Al Shajara Gas Depots and Yarmuk munitions factory after capturing them several weeks ago. It also confirms that the RSF are actively operating inside the airport in the area of the Domestic Flights Terminal Parking Lot, just south of general command, and near the buildings of the intelligence services, which are just southwest of General Command.
Here are a few links to the geolocation work that he did, just from that video alone:
Kudos to Haytham for this stellar work, as well as Mustafa.
Lest I leave out others, allow me this opportunity to thank all the volunteer translators, writers, and geolocation analysts who have either contributed directly to Sudan War Monitor or who have worked independently in a way that has improved our understanding and reporting on the conflict. This is just one small initiative among many good media projects and information efforts. Though the overall information environment remains chaotic and full of misinformation and war propaganda, I’m encouraged that we have begun to make a difference in a very small way.