Mass arrests as paranoia about "sleeper cells" sweeps Wad Madani
Ethnic targeting and rising hate speech as war escalates in central Sudan
Pro-army social media accounts and Sudanese news media report mass arrests of “sleeper cells” loyal to the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Wad Madani, following an attack by the RSF on outskirts of the city, east of the Blue Nile River.
The sleeper cells allegedly have engaged in attacks against rear positions of the Sudan Armed Forces’ (SAF) in Wad Madani, capital of Jezira State.
Sudan War Monitor learnt that military authorities have rounded up dozens of men on an ethnic basis, alleging their affiliation with the RSF. This follows a pattern seen in other SAF-controlled cities too, as we have previously reported.
Western Sudanese (people from Darfur and Kordofan) constitute an ethnic minority in Sudan’s Nile Valley and eastern cities, including Wad Madani. They have moved to those cities over many years for jobs, education, and business opportunities.
In other eastern cities, some detainees have been beaten or tortured, as seen in this video (viewer discretion advised: electrocution using a taser), which circulated recently on social media. The torturers, in the video, call him an RSF and insult him.
At this time, we are unable to confirm if the “sleeper cells” constitute a real military threat. For now, the RSF conventional forces are contained to the east bank of the Nile, after the army closed Hantoob Bridge.
Overnight on December 14-15, the RSF attacked south from Khartoum along the east bank of the Nile, outflanking forward positions of the army to appear unexpectedly at the gates of the city’s suburb Abu Haraz, near dawn.
Fighting for control of eastern suburbs of Wad Madani is now in its second day. Overnight (December 15-16), shooting continued, a curfew was announced, and army and security forces deployed heavily throughout the city.