Rapid Support Forces (Sudan)
|Rapid Support Forces: Janjaweed|
|Allegiance||Government of Sudan|
|RSF Commander||Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo|
The Rapid Support Forces (Arabic: قوات الدعم السريع، الجنجويد) are Sudanese paramilitary forces operated by the Sudanese Government. The RSF grew out of, and is primarily composed of, the Janjaweed militias which fought on behalf of the Sudanese government during the War in Darfur.
The RSF are administered by the National Intelligence and Security Service, although during military operations they are commanded by the Sudanese Armed Forces. As of June 2019[update], the commander of the RSF is General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. During the Sudanese political crisis of 2019, the military junta who took control of the country employed the RSF to violently crack down on pro-democracy demonstrators. Along with other security forces, the RSF carried out the Khartoum massacre on 3 June 2019.
The RSF has its roots in the Janjaweed militias used by the Sudanese Government in its attempts to fight the anti-government insurgency during the War in Darfur. The RSF was officially formed in August 2013 under the command of the NISS, following a restructuring and reactivation of Janjaweed militias in order to combat rebel groups in Darfur region, South Kordofan, and the Blue Nile states, following joint attacks by Sudanese Revolutionary Front rebels in North and South Kordofan in April 2013.
In addition to its role in Darfur, the RSF is also deployed to patrol the border with Libya and round up Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees in response to the Khartoum process, which is an initiative between European and African states, including Sudan, to stem the flow of migrants to Europe.
War in Darfur
During the War in Darfur, in 2014 and 2015, RSF forces "repeatedly attacked villages, burned and looted homes, beating, raping and executing villagers," aided by air and ground support from the Sudanese Armed Forces.
Yemeni Civil War
The RSF has participated in the Yemeni Civil War (2015–present). Both the RSF and other Sudanese security forces, participating in the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen, have killed civilians and destroyed infrastructure, for which they are suspected of war crimes by Human Rights Watch.
2018–19 Sudanese protests and human rights abuses
The RSF killed 100 protestors, injured 500, raped women and pillaged homes in the Khartoum massacre on 3 June 2019 during the 2018–19 Sudanese protests. During the first day of Eid al-Fitr in Sudan, in early June 2019, there were several reports that the RSF tied bricks of cement to the bodies of dead protestors to make them sink to the bottom of the Nile and never be found. The Central Committee of Medical Doctors stated that more than 100 people had been killed. On 6 June 2019, Kumi Naidoo, the head of Amnesty International, called for the "[immediate withdrawal of] all members of the Rapid Support Forces from policing and law enforcement anywhere in Sudan and especially in Khartoum".
In addition to the killings in Khartoum, other human rights violations during the 2018-19 crisis have been attributed to the RSF, including the rape of 70 male and female protesters during the Khartoum massacre and the following days; the targeting of peaceful sit-ins; and attacks on several hospitals.
The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors reported Janjaweed/RSF shooting dead nine people in the market of the village al-Dalij (or al-Delig) in Central Darfur on 10 or 11/12 June 2019. The massacre and the burning down of the market were interpreted by locals as a response to civil disobedience.
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- Jason Burke & Zeinab Mohammed Salih, Millions join general strike in Sudan aimed at dislodging army, The Guardian (June 9, 2019).
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- "Sudan crisis: Death toll from crackdown rises to 60, opposition says". BBC News. 5 June 2019. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
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- "Men With No Mercy": Rapid Support Forces Attacks against Civilians in Darfur, Sudan, Human Rights Watch (September 9, 2015).
- ""Men With No Mercy" | Rapid Support Forces Attacks against Civilians in Darfur, Sudan". Human Rights Watch. 9 September 2015. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
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- el-Baghdadi, Iyad (11 June 2019). "Opinion | The Princes Who Want to Destroy Any Hope for Arab Democracy". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
- Refugees, United Nations High Commissioner for. "Refworld | Sudan's Controversial Rapid Support Forces Bolster Saudi Efforts in Yemen". Refworld. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
- Halliday, Josh; Asthana, Anushka (2 April 2017). "Met police look at allegations of Saudi war crimes in Yemen". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
- Elbagir, Yousra (4 June 2019). "He says, "some people were beaten to death and thrown in the Nile, some shot multiple times and thrown in the Nile and others were hacked with machetes and thrown in the Nile. It was a massacre."". @YousraElbagir. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
- Obai (5 June 2019). "pic.twitter.com/73PBXXe7xQ". @grdoon. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
- "Sudan: Remove Rapid Support Forces from Khartoum streets immediately". Amnesty International. 6 June 2019. Archived from the original on 6 June 2019. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
- Salih in Khartoum, Zeinab Mohammed; Burke, Jason (11 June 2019). "Sudanese doctors say dozens of people raped during sit-in attack". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 11 June 2019. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
- Sudanese Rapid Support Forces Are Targeting Hospitals, Peaceful Sit-In; Dozens of Civilians Reported Killed, Physicians for Human Rights (June 3, 2019).
- "Sudan army, protesters to resume talks on transitional council". Al Jazeera English. 12 June 2019. Archived from the original on 12 June 2019. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
- "مليشيا الدعم السريع تركب مجزرة في "دليج" وتحرق السوق وتنهب ممتلكات المواطنين". al-Hamish Voice. 10 June 2019. Retrieved 12 June 2019.