According to Radio France internationale, the Transitional Sovereignty Council’s second in command, Lt. Gen. Mohammad Hamdan Dagalo ((Hemedti)) has been publicly refusing to integrate Rapid Support Forces into the army.
“The force (RSF) was instituted through a law passed by an elected parliament. It is neither a battalion nor a company to integrate into the army. It is a big force”, Hemedti was quoted saying by the report during a memorial service for a commander in the Sudan Liberation Movement – Minni Minawi (SLM-MM), on Friday.
“The talks about integrating the RSF into the national military could tear the country apart”, warned the deputy chairman of the Transitional Sovereignty Council.
Hemedti’s refusal comes after a will expressed by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of the Transitional Sovereignty Council, and the civilian components of the transitional council to create a unified national army.
His refusal, according to the news report, is a position he had assumed since very long and shared among his private interlocutors, as revealed in an investigation by French journalist Jerome Tubiana, who met Hemedti less than a year ago.
Tubiana has also recently published a diary entry documenting his meeting with the head of the RSF, RSF personnel, war-victims in Darfur and his travels around the region.
In a US House of Foreign Affairs hearing dating back to the 25th of June, 2019, Ambassador Malika James, long-time Foreign Service Officer at the U.S. State Department, alluded to friction between the RSF and the Sudanese Armed Forces being present.
“We understand there are some tensions”, Ambassador James stated in the hearing, stressing that the US and the international community had been exerting pressure on the “TMC” (Transitional Military Council).
The pressure was aimed at showing the TMC that a cost would have to be paid in case the RSF — described in the hearing as the force that was at the fore of the June 3 violent sit-in dispersal— was not held accountable nor “reined in”.
Hemedti refusing to integrate Rapid Support forces into the army follows a visit by the US Congressional Delegation comprising of senators Chris van Hollen and Christopher Coons to Sudan last month.
Senator Coons had called on the transitional government in Sudan to form a unified army led by the civilian government during the visit.