The first unit of Sudan's Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia has arrived in Libya to take part in east Libya-based commander Khalifa Haftar's operation to capture Libya's capital Tripoli in return for money, according to reports from Sudan-based Radio Dabanga. About 1,000 out of the 4,000 troops have arrived in the oil-rich region last week, the report said.
Earlier this month, a London-based newspaper reported that officials from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have concluded agreements to provide Haftar with fighters from Sudan and neighboring countries. Al-Araby Al-Jadeed daily, citing Libyan and Egyptian sources, said a large-scale troop mobilization was underway across Egypt's western border and Libya's southern border, with funding from UAE and Saudi Arabia.
According to the source, UAE reached a deal with the deputy head of Sudan's ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC), General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, to provide Haftar's militias with Sudanese fighters. Seen as the de facto ruler of Sudan, Dagalo commands the RSF paramilitary group. Although he repeatedly denied plans to run for presidency after the end of Sudan's three-year transitional period, many believe that he is preparing himself to become the country's next president.
Dagalo held talks in Cairo yesterday with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, a former military chief who ousted the country's first democratically elected leader, Mohamed Morsi, in a coup in 2013. The talks tackled "current developments in Sudan and aspects of bilateral relations between Cairo and Khartoum," the Egyptian Presidency said in a statement.
With Sudan in turmoil following the ouster of longtime President Omar al-Bashir, the continuation of his foreign policy toward Gulf countries by the military was not well received by the Sudanese people. Sudan is part of a UAE and a Saudi-led military coalition fighting Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. That marked a dramatic shift by Khartoum, which aligned itself with the Gulf Arab monarchies at the expense of close ties with their archrival Iran. Al-Bashir deployed troops to Yemen in 2015 as part of a major foreign policy shift that saw Khartoum break its decades-old ties with Shiite Iran and join the Saudi-led coalition. Sudanese media reports claim that many of the Sudanese troops fighting in Yemen are from RSF paramilitary group. Sudan did not announce the number of troops participating in the war but had affirmed earlier its readiness to send 6,000 fighters to Yemen. Hundreds of Sudanese soldiers and officers are fighting in Yemen and have suffered casualties, raising calls for a withdrawal.
Five Sudanese protesters shot dead ahead of talks
Five demonstrators including students were shot dead at a rally yesterday, a day before protest leaders and ruling generals meet to resolve the remaining issues concerning the forming of a civilian administration. A night-time curfew was imposed yesterday in four towns in North Kordofan state, including its capital Al-Obeid, for an indefinite period. The two sides have already signed a power-sharing deal that aims to set up a joint civilian-military ruling body which in turn would install civilian rule. That is the main demand of a nationwide protest movement that led to the April ouster of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir and has since demanded that the military council which took his place cede power to civilians.