RSF deputy leader: 'We decided to control all of Darfur, and El Fasher is no exception.'
Preparations for battles in West and North Kordofan
The deputy commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Abdelrahim Hamdan Dagalo, affirmed that they decided to take control of all the military sites belonging to the army in the Darfur region, including El Fasher, which is witnessing large mobilizations of both the RSF and the former Darfur rebel movements.
In an interview conducted by an influencer and activist loyal to the RSF, Abdel Moneim Al-Rabie, from inside the headquarters of the former 16th Army Infantry Division in Nyala, Dagalo announced a plan approved by the Rapid Support command for control of all military sites in Darfur without exception.
He said they had delayed to take control over El Fasher “because we agreed with our brothers in the armed struggle movements that there should not be a war in El Fasher.”
Dagalo launched a scathing attack on the head of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), Jibril Ibrahim, considering him one of the servants of the former regime. “I backed Jibril to become a minister, but Jibril stood with the remnants against us…. He stood against us. The evidence for this is that one of those close to us was killed in the plane that burned in Port Sudan and was on its way to fight us.”
Jibrel recently renounced JEM’s position of neutrality and vowed to fight the RSF, though a prominent JEM splinter group led by Suleiman Sandal (which claims to have ousted Jibrel from the leadership of JEM), has rejected this, affirming its neutrality.
While Dagalo stated that he refused to meet with the JEM leader Jibril IBrahim during a recent visit to N'Djamena, he disclosed that he had met with the leadership of other armed factions including those of Al-Hadi Idris and Al-Tahir Hajar. He said they agreed not to wage war in Darfur, claiming that the RSF are still committed to doing so, though this contradicts the decision to control all Darfur that he announced at the beginning of his speech.
In the past two months, RSF troops led by Abdelrahim Dagalo launched massive attacks on a number of army bases in Darfur and seized them, including Nyala, Zalingei, El Geneina, Nertiti, ad-Daein, Buram, and Um Kadada.
The army’s largest withdrawal was from the 15th Division in El Geneina, coinciding with withdrawals from other locations in West Darfur in each of Kreinek, Seleia, Sirba, before gathering in the Kulbus border area where they entered the neighboring country of Chad with more than two thousand soldiers. Military equipment and vehicles were delivered to Chadian forces in the Kirai border region.
Meanwhile, a number of officers of the 20th Division who withdrew from El Daein were arrested by members of the Rapid Support Forces and men of the Native Administration in the al-Ruqaybat area in East Darfur yesterday, disguised in civilian clothing, on their way to South Sudan.
RSF eyeing El Obeid and Babanusa
In spite of this Dagalo’s rhetoric, the RSF may intend to bypass El Fasher for now. Troops freed up after recent victories in El Geneina, Nyala, and Zalingei appear to be preparing to launch an offensive eastward toward Babanusa and El Obeid.