Sudan’s army chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, appealed to the international community to counter “sponsors” of the army’s rival Rapid Support Forces (RSF), he said in his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday.
“We call upon the international community to designate these groups and their allies as terrorist groups that must be countered by all. They must be fought to protect the Sudanese people, the region, and the entire world. They are responsible for the killing of thousands and the displacement of millions,” Burhan said.
“I would like to reiterate. Our demand to designate the the rapid support forces and their allied militias as terrorist groups, for they have committed all sorts of crimes that give grounds for such designation. There is a need to firmly address their sponsors. Those who have supported the killing, burning, raping, the forced displacement, the looting, stealing, torture, transfer of arms and drugs, bringing mercenaries or recruiting children. All such crimes that necessitate accountability and punishment,” he added.
More than 5 million people have been made homeless and thousands of civilians have been killed in a war that broke out over plans to formally integrate the RSF into the army as part of a political transition.
In fact, the heads of Sudan’s rival military factions gave competing addresses to the United Nations on Thursday, one from the podium at U.N. headquarters in New York and the other in a rare video recording from an undisclosed location.
RSF leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, said in a video message that his forces were fully prepared for a ceasefire and comprehensive political talks to end the conflict.
“The RSF is fully prepared to declare a ceasefire throughout Sudan. This will allow humanitarian aid to flow, provide safe passage for civilians and relief personnel, and initiate meaningful and comprehensive political dialogue. This dialogue should lead to a comprehensive political solution and the establishment of a civilian government, guiding the country toward democratic transformation and lasting peace,” Hemedti said.
Both sides blamed the other for starting the war that erupted in mid-April in Khartoum and has spread to other parts of the country including the western region of Darfur, displacing more than 5 million people and threatening to destabilise the region.