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US Sanctions Deputy Leader of Sudanese Paramilitary Force Over Human Rights Abuses

The United States has imposed sanctions on Abdelrahim Dagalo, the deputy leader of Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), for his involvement in human rights abuses, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement Wednesday.

Abdelrahim Dagalo, who is the brother of RSF commander Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (widely known as Hemedti), is the highest profile RSF figure to be sanctioned since a conflict erupted between the powerful paramilitary group and the Sudanese army in mid-April. Dagalo is also the first official to be sanctioned on either of the warring sides.

CNN was the first international media organization to expose the RSF as being behind mass atrocities in Darfur including the torching of towns and villages, widespread sexual assault and arbitrary killings. It released a series of investigations that uncovered RSF massacres and other human rights abuses, and exposed arms supplies from Russian mercenary group Wagner.

The sanctions also a growing chorus of criticism from Sudanese activists against the US for not sanctioning Hemedti, despite mounting evidence of wrongdoing and violations by his forces.

Blinken said in the statement sanctions were imposed on Abdelrahim Dagalo for his connection to the RSF, “whose members have committed human rights abuses against civilians in Sudan, to include conflict-related sexual violence and killings based on ethnicity.”

“We will not hesitate to use the tools at our disposal to hinder the ability of the RSF and Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) to further prolong this war, and we will also use such tools to deter any actor from undermining the Sudanese people’s aspiration for peace and civilian, democratic rule,” he added.

Sudan’s military ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who commands SAF, issued a decree to dissolve RSF on Wednesday.

According to a statement released by the Sudanese Transitional Sovereignty Council, the decision comes as a consequence of “the rebellion of these forces against the state, the grave violations they committed against citizens, and the deliberate sabotage of the country’s infrastructure.”

His forces have clashed with RSF as both parties tried to take control of the capital, Khartoum.

The clashes are seen as a power struggle between al-Burhan and Hamdan Dagalo, former allies that once worked together to topple Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in 2019 and played a pivotal role in the military coup in 2021.

Their relationship soured amid negotiations to integrate the RSF into the country’s military as part of plans to restore civilian rule.

More than 4 million people have fled the violence across Sudan since the fighting broke out, with more than half having fled the capital alone, according to the International Organization for Migration.

Source : CNN