Hemedti, whose full name is Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, is a Sudanese military commander and politician. He was born on August 1, 1975, in Al-Junaynah, West Darfur. Hemedti rose to prominence as the deputy head of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary group that was formed in 2013 to fight rebel groups in Sudan’s western Darfur region.
In 2019, Hemedti played a key role in the overthrow of Sudan’s former president Omar al-Bashir, and became a member of the Transitional Military Council (TMC) that took power after al-Bashir’s ouster. Hemedti was criticized for his involvement in the violent crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Sudan in June 2019, in which dozens of people were killed.
In August 2019, Hemedti signed a power-sharing agreement with civilian leaders, leading to the formation of a transitional government in Sudan. He was appointed as a member of the Sovereignty Council, which is meant to oversee the country’s transition to civilian rule.
Hemedti remains a controversial figure in Sudanese politics, with some accusing him of being a military strongman who is not committed to the country’s democratic transition.
Who supports the RSF in Sudan?
The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Sudan were formed by the Sudanese government in 2013 to fight rebel groups in the country’s western Darfur region. The RSF is technically a branch of the Sudanese Armed Forces, but it operates independently and has been accused of committing human rights violations.
The RSF is supported by the Sudanese government, and its commander, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (also known as Hemedti), has close ties to the country’s military leadership. Hemedti is also the deputy chairman of the Transitional Military Council (TMC) that took power after the ouster of former president Omar al-Bashir in 2019.
The RSF has been accused of receiving support from external actors as well, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia. In 2019, the New York Times reported that the UAE had provided the RSF with weapons, military vehicles, and training. The Saudi Arabian government has also been reported to have provided support to the RSF in the past.
It’s worth noting that while the RSF has been accused of committing human rights violations, it has also been praised by some for its role in fighting terrorism and maintaining stability in some parts of Sudan.
Paramilitary career and war crimes
Paramilitary organizations are often associated with conflict, and there have been many instances in which members of such groups have been accused of committing war crimes and other atrocities.
In the case of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Sudan, the group was formed in 2013 to fight rebel groups in the country’s western Darfur region. The RSF is technically a branch of the Sudanese Armed Forces, but it operates independently and has been accused of committing human rights violations, including war crimes.
In June 2019, the RSF was involved in a violent crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Sudan, in which dozens of people were killed. The RSF was accused of firing on unarmed protesters and carrying out brutal attacks on civilians.
Following the crackdown, there were calls for the RSF to be disbanded, and for its members to be held accountable for their actions. However, the RSF has remained active in Sudan, and its commander, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (also known as Hemedti), has been appointed to a senior position in the country’s transitional government.
It’s worth noting that not all paramilitary organizations engage in war crimes or other atrocities. However, the nature of these groups – which often operate outside of normal military structures and are often composed of volunteers or irregular forces – can make them more prone to abuses of power and human rights violations.
Many paramilitary organizations have been accused of engaging in business interests, often through illegal or unethical means. This can include smuggling, extortion, and other forms of criminal activity.
In the case of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Sudan, there have been allegations that the group is involved in various business ventures, including gold mining and smuggling. In 2019, a report by the Sentry, an investigative group focused on financial corruption in Africa, alleged that the RSF and its leaders have been involved in the smuggling of gold and other minerals from Sudan.
The report also claimed that the RSF has received support from various foreign governments and companies, including those in the Gulf region, which may have helped facilitate the smuggling of gold and other minerals out of Sudan.
It’s worth noting that these allegations have been denied by the RSF and its leaders, and that investigations into the group’s business interests are ongoing. However, the involvement of paramilitary groups in business ventures is not uncommon, and can be a major source of funding for these organizations. In some cases, this can make it difficult for governments to hold these groups accountable for their actions, as they may have significant financial resources and political influence.