today's Pick
Sudan to 'deploy' controversial military unit around Khartoum
Publish Date: May 19, 2014
Sudan to 'deploy' controversial military unit around Khartoum
Former premier and leading opposition figure Sadiq al-Mahdi was arrested on Saturday. AFP Photo
  • mail
  • img
newvision

SUDAN'S state security agency on Sunday ordered a counter-insurgency unit accused of abusing civilians in the western region of Darfur to deploy around the capital Khartoum.

The move comes as elements of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) engage in what an analyst said is a power play, reflected in their arrest on Saturday of former prime minister and leading opposition figure Sadiq al-Mahdi.

"The chief of NISS, General Mohammed Atta, issued a decision ordering the Rapid Support Forces to deploy around the capital," the agency said in a notice issued to local journalists.

There were no further details.

Mahdi is being held at Kober Prison, in the Khartoum area, for alleged treason after he reportedly accused the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of rape and other crimes against people in Darfur.

Newspapers reported last week that NISS, which has authority over the RSF, filed a criminal complaint against Mahdi.

The African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and the European Union ambassador in Khartoum had also expressed concern about the RSF's activities.

But commanders of the unit denied last week that their men had looted, raped or committed arson.

General Abbas Abdelaziz described it as a "professional" force of 6,000 men "under the control of their commanders and the law".

They were carefully chosen and trained, including in the rights of civilians in war zones, he said.

Magdi El Gizouli, a fellow at the Rift Valley Institute, described the RSF as "Sudan's version of Blackwater," a private American security firm which became notorious in Iraq.

"There's no clear command structure over them. They are given missions. They perform those missions, and they get paid for them," Gizouli said.

The order for RSF to deploy around Khartoum is surprising given that Abdelaziz said last week that his troops were "on holiday".

Another RSF component was, however, still fighting rebels in South Kordofan state, he said.

Insurgents from South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur are grouped in an alliance which has vowed to topple the government.

Related stories

Sudanese woman to be killed for marrying a Christian man

Uganda pins Sudan on LRA warlord Kony

AFP

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Kenyatta summoned to ICC over claims of
THE International Criminal Court said Friday it had summoned Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to appear before the tribunal over charges his government has withheld documents...
Queen urges unity after Scotland votes
Queen Elizabeth II has called for "mutual respect" among Scots following a divisive campaign in a referendum that saw Scotland reject independence from the UK....
Ruhakana Rugunda new Prime Minister
Reports from State House indicate that health minister Ruhakana Rugunda has been appointed Prime Minister of Uganda. He will replace Amama Mbabazi who has been the premier since after the 2011 general election....
No independence for Scotland: In pictures
Scotland has rejected independence in a referendum that leaves the UK intact. Take a look at what has been going on there....
UK intact as Scotland rejects independence
Scotland has rejected independence in a referendum that leaves the United Kingdom intact but opens the door to wider autonomy....
US man kills daughter, six grandchildren
A man killed his daughter and six grandchildren, the youngest just three months old, in a mass shooting at a house in Florida....
Should bride price be made optional?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter