February 25, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The commander of Sudanese troops known as Rapid Support Force (RSF) Maj. Gen. Abbas Abdulaziz said that troop movements in operation zones and other areas is not a mandate of the governors stressed but is under the purview of Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) General Command.
- Rapid Support Force (RSF) commander Maj. Gen. Abbas Abdelaziz (Ashorooq TV)
RSF were formed to help SAF in its military campaign which began last August through recruitment of troops from several states.
Abdulaziz emphasized in an interview with pro-government Ashorooq TV that RSF are present in the field to finish up the summer plan in Darfur states to crush the rebels and then return to complete the remaining tasks assigned to it by SAF in coordination with other military divisions.
The presence of Janjaweed militias incorporated in RSF in North Kordofan state capital of El-Obeid drew widespread condemnation from residents who accused it of spreading terror.
These forces were blamed earlier this month for looting commercial markets and killing of a merchant in El-Obeid leading to massive protests across the city.
The governor of North Kordofan state, Ahmed Haroun, announced at the time that his government made the necessary arrangements to drive them out from the state within 72 hours.
But Abdulaziz said in the interview that the incident was "normal" and that the events occurred in it is something that Haroun should be asked about asserting that the situation could have been contained and addressed in a different manner.
He disclosed that RSF quickly investigated the incident and arrested the culprit in an hour and made him stand trial after which he was stripped from his military immunity has been dismissed from the service
"There are parties which are supportive of rebel movements that rode the horseback of the opposition and portrayed it as if the citizens do not want these forces," Abdulaziz said.
He went on to say that they sat down with North Kordofan governor and clarified the facts to him noting that the movement of troops is linked to the completion of the deficiencies in coordination with SAF or through ground forces Chiefs of Staff.
The Janjaweed militias were originally mobilized by the Sudanese government to quell the insurgency that broke out in Sudan’s western region of Darfur in 2003.
That counter-insurgency campaign, which mainly targeted African ethnic groups on account of their affiliation to the insurgents, has led to the death of approximately 300,000 people and the displacement of more than 2.7 million, according to United Nations figures.
Haroun himself is one of the Sudanese officials wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes he allegedly masterminded in Darfur during his time as state minister for interior.