The RSF’s proposals on ethnic diversity come amid widespread reports of ethnic cleansing and sexual violence in Darfur.
The head of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces has proposed a plan to achieve “lasting peace” in war-torn Sudan, as his rival army chief is expected to embark on a regional tour.
Mohamed Hamdan “Hemedti” Dagalo, the commander of the RSF, late Sunday published a 10-point plan prepared by the paramilitary group proposing new negotiations to end the war that began in mid-April, a war he claimed the RSF “did not seek”. to it, nor the initiative.
“Efforts to end the protracted crisis must be directed towards achieving a permanent ceasefire, along with comprehensive political solutions that address the root cause of Sudan’s wars,” his statement said.
Dagalo put forward the idea of an “asymmetric federal system” that represents the regional, cultural and ethnic diversity in Sudan after the elections to form a civilian government and end “structural violence” against large segments of Sudanese citizens.
Most importantly, he proposed the formation of a new, non-political, and unified Sudanese army that would be built from the amalgamation of existing forces, would have civilian oversight, and would conform to internationally recognized foundations.
But the general’s proposals, which are titled “Sudan again” and appear to be in line with international calls to shape the country’s future, hardly correspond to the realities on the ground as the devastating war enters its twentieth week.
For example, war broke out between the RSF and the Sudanese army shortly before the paramilitary force was integrated into the army, led by Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, as part of a plan to restore civilian rule.
The two generals carried out a coup in 2021 that led to the expulsion of civilian politicians from the government, which came two years after they came together to end the rule of military leader Omar al-Bashir in Sudan.
On the other hand, Dagolo and the RSF have been documented by the United Nations and prominent human rights organizations and activists to commit ethnic cleansing in addition to systematic acts of sexual violence.
In the western region of Darfur, which was the scene of a genocidal war in the early 2000s involving forces that later evolved into the Rapid Support Forces, there have been widespread reports of killings of members of the African community and rape since the beginning of the war.
The International Criminal Court has also said it is investigating new war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, and the United Nations has warned that the war “now threatens to consume the entire country”.
More than 4.6 million people have been forced to flee their homes since the start of the war, according to UN figures, which say more than a million people have fled to neighboring countries, including Chad and Egypt.
Army Commander visits Egypt and Saudi Arabia
The new proposals for the RSF come as army chief Burhan plans his own initiative.
On Thursday, he appeared outside the army’s general command center in the capital, Khartoum, for the first time since the war began.
On Sunday, he appeared in Port Sudan, in the north-east of the country, which has escaped the worst of the fighting.
He is also expected to visit neighboring Egypt soon, with which the army is allied, followed by a trip to Saudi Arabia, which has been trying for months to secure a cease-fire in cooperation with the United States.
Many of the ceasefire agreements have been repeatedly violated, often immediately after they entered into force, with both sides blaming each other for undermining the ceasefire.
Riyadh and Washington have paused mediation efforts for the time being, as the two sides continue their struggle for military dominance before seriously committing to a long-term peace plan.