The deputy leader of Sudan’s military council voiced his enthusiasm for democratic elections in front of an audience of tribal leaders and senior diplomats on Saturday, while seeking to deflect blame for violence in Khartoum this week.
The clashes threatened to derail the council’s talks with an alliance of protest and opposition groups pushing for a swift transition to civilian rule after the fall of former President Omar al-Bashir last month.
Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the youthful leader of Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), has emerged as the most prominent member of the Transitional Military Council (TMC) that ousted and arrested Bashir following months of protests.
Dagalo, widely known as Hemedti, has considerable power. His RSF are deployed across Khartoum, and he is close to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, which between them pledged $3 billion in aid to Sudan late last month.
On Saturday he spoke for nearly 20 minutes after breaking the Ramadan fast to an audience including the top official in the US embassy and the Saudi ambassador, as well as local and international media.
“Democracy is consultation ... that’s it, we want real democracy,” he said, in a speech punctuated by applause and laughter. “We want a man who comes in through the ballot box ... We want free and fair elections.”
Many of those present were from Sudan’s western Darfur region. Human rights groups accused militias that Hemedti commanded of genocide in the war that began there in 2003, allegations Bashir’s government denied.
On Monday and Wednesday, violence broke out in areas of Khartoum where security forces had been trying to clear barricades erected by protesters, including around a sit-in outside the Defence Ministry that started on April 6.
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر