Since December 27, the commander of the Sudanese Rapid Support Forces, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (Hemedti), began an African tour of unannounced duration, during which he was a guest of Uganda, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and South Africa.
The visits were met with great interest from those concerned with the Sudanese file, and sparked a wave of reactions that varied between welcome and condemnation, while some observers considered them an indicator to determine the positions of the host countries regarding the parties to the war in the country of the Nile.
During the various stops of his tour, Hemedti confirmed through his account on the
This tour comes in the wake of important field developments that the Sudanese arena has witnessed in recent months. The Rapid Support Forces were able to achieve military gains in the west of the country, and were able to extend their control over 3 of the four states of the Darfur region.
Last December, Hemedti's forces took control of the pivotal state of Al-Jazeera in the center of the country, in what observers described as a “dangerous turning point” in the course of the war that has been ongoing since last April 15.
These field transformations were accompanied by escalating diplomatic efforts to curb the deterioration the country is experiencing.
These efforts culminated in a statement issued by the Intergovernmental Authority for the Development of East Africa (IGAD) on December 10, in which it announced the commitment of the President of the Sudanese Sovereignty Council, Army Commander Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, to meet with the Rapid Support Commander, Hemedti, within 15 days.
But the Sudanese Foreign Ministry said that Al-Burhan was a condition for agreeing to the meeting, and then announced that it had received a memorandum from its counterpart in Djibouti, which currently heads the IGAD, informing it of postponing the meeting until this January.
Observers believe that Hemedti aims through this tour to achieve a set of goals and send various messages in several directions.
Sudanese writer and political analyst Muhammad Al-Mabrouk says, “Hemedti’s first goal during this tour is to appear,” explaining that the Rapid Support leader wants to show himself and announce his public return to the political scene in the country after an absence that lasted 6 months, and there were conflicting reports in explaining his reason, even Some of them went on to announce his death.
Al-Mabrouk added in an interview with Al Jazeera Net that the Rapid Support Forces media was keen to show this point through media coverage through photos and videos, and to confirm his reception by the leaders of the countries he visited.
The past months have witnessed the spread of many rumors to explain the non-appearance of Hemedti, including the announcement of his death by both the Sudanese ambassador to Libya, Ibrahim Mohamed Ahmed, and the head of the Umma Party – Renewal and Reform, Mubarak Al-Fadil, but the Rapid Support Forces denied the killing of their leader, which explained that his public appearance was linked to estimates. Left to drive.
Al-Mabrouk believes that Hemedti's movements cannot be separated from his attempt to mobilize these influential countries in the Sudanese file through their role in IGAD, in favor of the negotiating agenda that Rapid Support seeks to pass.
IGAD includes 8 countries, of which Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda, which Hemedti visited, are among the important centers of gravity, while Djibouti, which was also included in the tour, hosts the organization’s permanent headquarters.
For his part, Al-Amin Dhurmus, the external relations official for the Sudan Future Campaign, believes that Hemedti’s visit to Ethiopia has a special character, as it was to meet with his partners in the Coordination of Civil Democratic Forces (Taqaddum), headed by Abdullah Hamdok.
During which the two parties agreed to a declaration of principles that stipulated a commitment to continue the process of ending the war, while the Support Command committed to engaging in direct discussions with the army leadership to stop hostilities.
Dhurmus believes that the importance of this agreement for the support forces is that it is an attempt to save him and improve his image after his forces committed the most heinous types of crimes against civilians, “what can be called crimes of genocide and forced displacement.”
Undermining evidentiary efforts
Analysts believe that Hemedti's tour comes within the framework of his attempts to undermine the efforts made by Al-Burhan with most of the leaders of these countries during his previous tours, and Al-Mabrouk says that he “may have found an understanding from her regarding the position of the Sudanese army and its vision in defending the existence of the state.”
In the same context, Sudanese journalist and analyst Hafez Kabir confirms that neither side can pass on its own narrative, pointing out that this war has two narratives, one for the army and the other for rapid support, and that the countries that both Al-Burhan and Hemedti visited play important roles in the Sudanese peace process. Therefore, you should hear from different parties.
Speaking to Al Jazeera Net, Kabir believes that this tour can contribute to clarifying the picture for the leaders of these countries, enabling them to build on the meeting points that will represent the basis for signing the agreement between the two parties.
Warmth and welcome
Some of the positions that accompanied Hemedti's tour aroused the attention of observers because of the implications they carry regarding the positions of the host countries towards the active parties in the war in Sudan.
In this context, the remarkable warmth of the reception was evident, and the pictures published by the media reflected the friendly atmosphere that surrounded these visits.
Hafez Kabir believes that the reception received by the Rapid Support Commander in Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and South Africa “is known to be an official reception,” and that it indicates positive reactions from these countries to the visit.
But Dharms believes that the motives for this warmth are due to the fact that this tour is being carried out with the assistance and coordination of the allies of the Rapid Support Forces, whether they are “outside or inside Africa.”
Features of a diplomatic crisis
In reference to the possibility of a diplomatic crisis on the horizon in light of the tour, the Sudanese Foreign Ministry summoned its ambassador to Kenya “for consultations in protest against the official reception organized by the Kenyan government for the leader of the rebel militia, and that the consultation will cover all possibilities for the outcome of the relationship between the two countries,” according to the Sudanese News Agency.
In his speech on the occasion of the 68th anniversary of Sudan’s independence, Al-Burhan called on the countries receiving Hemedti to stop “interfering in our affairs, because any facilities provided to the leadership of the rebel group are considered a partnership in crime and a partnership in killing and destroying the people of Sudan.”
Observers attribute these receptions to the desire of the host countries to maintain a balance in their relationship between the two parties to the conflict in order to facilitate the mediation mission they carry out, in addition to the rapid support’s victories in recent months that have made it a major player on the Sudanese political map.