Prominent Islamist commander defects to the RSF
NISS reinforcements seen in Omdurman
The Rapid Support Forces announced that they welcomed into their ranks Abu Aqlah Kikel, commander of the Sudan Shield militia, which formed in December 2022 allegedly with the support of Islamists of the former Bashir regime.
Sudan Shield was known for rejecting the Juba Peace Agreement between the Hamdok government and the Darfur armed groups.
Kikel held rallies in the weeks and days leading up to the eruption of conflict on April 15 as tensions rose between RSF and the Sudan Armed Forces. Political activists warned that the group was fueling tensions.
Kikel’s troops were expected to play a role in defending the Burhan government against the RSF, and in fact the militia announced its merger with the Sudan Armed Forces in late April, but instead the commander has now switched sides.
The development is not completely surprising in light of prior statements made by Sudan Shield against the Al Burhan government on its social media pages, and circulating rumors that he had already joined RSF…