Members of Sudan's intelligence service executed 3 prisoners and bragged about it
Geolocation, mapping, and identification of uniforms enabled us to ID the perpetrators
Members of Sudan’s General Intelligence Service (GIS) and the Central Reserve Police, a paramilitary affiliated with the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), executed three detainees in Omdurman and filmed themselves doing it.
A video of the execution, obtained from Telegram channels, shows that the victims were blindfolded, partly stripped (all three were shirtless and barefoot), and forced to lie down in a dirt pit before they were shot.
Notwithstanding an official denial of responsibility by the Sudan Armed Forces spokesman and attempts on social media to discredit the video, our investigation found conclusively that SAF-affiliated fighters were responsible for the killing.
We based this conclusion on geolocation of the video, mapping of areas of control, identification of the uniforms of the perpetrators, and the words spoken by the perpetrators themselves, who used rhetoric typical of SAF and its affiliates.
This is the latest of several documented instances of executions of prisoners by the two parties to the conflict, as well as severe abuse in the form of beatings, whippings, starvation, and denial of medical treatment. Civilian and military detainees alike have been severely abused by both sides, and thousands are being held in inhumane conditions, according to Sudanese human rights monitors.
In this case, the identity of the three victims is not clear. Their executioners said that they were ‘snipers’ for the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). For their part, however, the RSF denied this, stating that the men were “heinously executed on ethnic grounds… after having been wrongfully accused of collaborating with the RSF.” Notably, the victims were wearing civilian pants, not military khaki.
Either way, murdering detainees—whether civilians or prisoners of war—is an international war crime. Additionally, under Sudanese law, killing a prisoner of war or a civilian is punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 20 years.
Uniforms of the perpetrators
The video shows at least four perpetrators, including the person filming. Two of them wear clothing typical of the Operations Authority, a wing of the General Intelligence Service (formerly called the National Intelligence and Security Service).
Although the Operations Authority previously was disbanded, it was reconstituted after the outbreak of the conflict in April and is active on the frontlines in central Omdurman, fighting alongside the Central Reserve Police and the army.
Comparing images of Operations Authority members taken from other sources (bottom row of the below gallery) with those of the perpetrators (top row) indicates that the perpetrators were Operations Authority members.
Another perpetrator wore a uniform of the Central Reserve Police—a khaki pattern with black shoulder marks. The fourth perpetrator wore a black polo shirt with khaki pants of the same pattern as the Central Reserve uniforms.
Of the two groups represented in the video—Central Reserve Police and Operations Authority—the latter appeared to play the leadership role. Both the spokesperson of the execution squad and the cameraman were Operations Authority members.
Video of the war crime
Just prior to the shooting, the apparent spokesman of the group spoke to the camera (01:00) saying “These are traitorous mercenaries, God brought them to us, snipers, who took the lives they took and raped what they raped.” Then he turned around with two of his companions and the three of them fired about 30 bullets at the prisoners in the pit, chanting phrases like, “Bitch snipers!” and, “God is great!”
⚠️ Disturbing and graphic content; viewer discretion advised
When the shooting stopped (1:52), one of them pointed out with inappropriate language that one of the prisoners was not dead (“that one is not dead, that faggot there is not dead”). The bloodbath continued with a shower of more bullets, bringing the total number of shots to about 50.
The compliant state of the prisoners prior to their execution suggests that they may have been beaten, tortured, and/or drugged. One of them had a bandage on his foot. They moved lethargically and did not attempt to run after the first shot was fired.
Locating the video
The execution was filmed in a narrow dirt alley lined by storehouses or shops. Visually, there are no clear landmarks in this area, but the presence of a liquid storage tank in the middle of the alleyway is distinctive. Coupled with other features, this enabled a geolocation: 15.664406, 32.477236, which is within 100 meters of the Omdurman headquarters of the Central Reserve Police.
The area was formerly used by auto repair workshops and wholesalers, but these businesses are now abandoned.
Fighting has been ongoing in this area for months, including in the Omdurman Industrial Zone and Omdurman Popular Market to the west, and in residential neighborhoods to the south and east. We have been able to map the frontline in Omdurman by geolocating combat videos, and through other sources.
The map is only approximate, and some areas are left uncolored to indicate that they are contested or unconfirmed. Nonetheless, we can assess with confidence that the Central Reserve headquarters and its immediate surroundings are controlled by SAF—and have been since July 5, 2023. The execution therefore took place on territory controlled by SAF, by men in uniforms of security services associated with SAF.
Nearby killing of SAF prisoners of war
This video of this execution emerged October 3, about a week after a public outcry over a different video of an RSF-affiliated militia fighter killing two army prisoners (⚠️ very graphic video) in the Omdurman Popular market—just 1.1 km away from this execution site.
The dating of that video is uncertain, but a smoke plume seen in the background corresponds with fire data from the NASA FIRMS satellite system for September 19, 2023. The proximity of the two videos, both in terms of date and location, suggests that this killing might have been done in retaliation for the RSF one.
The blame game
In pro-SAF social media groups, this new execution video initially was shared proudly as supporters gloated over the murders. Eventually, however, the video reached a broader audience and the RSF started to use it for its own propaganda purposes.
Some pro-SAF channels that had initially posted the video later deleted it. Pro-SAF influencers orchestrated messaging campaigns to try to dissociate the military from the execution and to discredit the video. They circulated several alternative explanations for what had happened. For instance, they claimed the RSF had carried out the killings in disguise, with the intention of discrediting the Armed Forces.
Brigadier General Nabil Abdullah, the SAF spokesperson, embraced this line of argument in a statement on the night of October 5, saying, “Media houses paid by the rebel RSF militia promoted a fabricated video of prisoners being liquidated in cold blood. This video has nothing to do with the Armed Forces in terms of either the place of filming or the style of the speakers, which clearly indicate that they (the perpetrators) are members of the notorious militia.”
He claimed the victims were SAF soldiers killed by RSF, not the other way round.
“The Sudan Armed Forces is known for its spotless record in respecting international humanitarian law, the customs and laws of war, and its strict adherence to the rules of engagement,” he said.
Emergency Lawyers, a Sudanese nonprofit with experience documenting abuses against detainees, responded to this statement, saying, “The official spokesperson of the Armed Forces issued a disappointing statement on October 5 denying any connection between the Armed Forces and the individuals who carried out the crime, evading responsibility at a time when we were awaiting for the criminals to be seized until they were brought to justice later. They are known to Military Intelligence…”
“We at Emergency Lawyers call on the two warring parties to strictly adhere to international humanitarian law and we warn them that these documented crimes will not be subject to a statute of limitations.”
Sudan War Monitor is independent and unaffiliated—we report both sides
Sudan’s military dictatorship has long sought to repress reporting on human rights violations. We report independently on war crimes of both sides in the current conflict. Though many of our recent reports have dealt with atrocities of the Rapid Support Forces, we have not shied away from reporting about crimes by members of the Sudan Armed Forces, including previous cases of confirmed or suspected executions of detainees, as well as indiscriminate bombings.
Unlike the extremist propagandists on either side of this war, we tell the full story—not just one side—and we don’t fabricate and mislead.
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