NAIROBI – It is now emerging that a senior Sudanese Rapid Support Forces commander is in Nairobi.
Sky News Arabia interviewed the US-sanctioned RSF Deputy Commander Abdulrahim Dagalo in Nairobi and aired on Thursday.
Abdulrahim is the brother to RSF Commander Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo Hemedti, who is engaged in a power struggle with Sudan Armed Forces chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan that escalated into a full-blown war in April.
SAF has accused Kenya of harbouring RSF commanders in Nairobi, and as a result rejected the appointment of President William Ruto as the IGAD lead mediator in the Sudan conflict.
The interview came soon after the US sanctioned Abdulrahim over abuses by the RSF against civilians in Sudan, including conflict-related sexual violence and ethnic-based killings.
The US Department of State also imposed visa restrictions on RSF General and West Darfur Sector Commander Abdul Rahman Juma for his involvement in gross violation of human rights.
Chairman of the Transitional Sovereignty Council Gen Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan also issued a constitutional decree dissolving the Rapid Support Forces.
Reacting to the sanctions in the Sky News Arabia channel, Abdulrahim said they were unfair and based on information taken from parties against the RSF.
“The authorities that issued the sanctions did not wait to find out who was creating strife and killing people in Darfur.
The US Treasury’s decision is not appropriate and does not concern us at all. I am ready for justice and ready for investigation. Proof is the main cause of strife, and we worked hard to prevent war between the tribes,” he said.
In June, the Sudan government accused Kenya and its senior officials of adopting RSF positions and supporting them with various types of support. and reiterated their rejection of Ruto as IGAD mediation team chairman.
Sudan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had rejected the replacement of South Sudan President Salva Kiir as head of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development mediation team with President Ruto.
However, Kenya Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Korir Singóei responded saying while Nairobi had not received an official communication on the matter, the inclusion of Ethiopia PM Abiy Ahmed and the appointment of President Ruto to lead the Quartet of Djibouti, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Kenya was arrived at by the IGAD Summit and can only be vacated by the Summit.
Separately in an Interview with France24, President Ruto denied Kenya is harbouring RSF leadership in Kenya.
“Well, everybody has their own opinion. We do not want interference. The main accusation against Kenya is that we have Hemedti in one of our hospitals in Nairobi. This is a false narrative,” President Ruto said.
Ruto, however, has hosted both sides in Nairobi, meeting Al-Burhan’s special envoy and later Sovereign Council Deputy Chairman Malik Agar on May 29, and later ‘HemedtI’s political adviser Youssef Ezzat on June 3.
Before the war started in April, Kenya Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua in January met Hemedti, who was then Sudan Transitional Sovereignty Council Vice President, in Nairobi.
DP Rigathi said they discussed bilateral relations between the two states in a bid to increase the volume of trade and grow businesses of the two nations, as well as regional peace and stability.
Hemedti, who was accompanied by Sudan Ambassador to Kenya Kumar Gubara Mohamed Salim, visited the country days after President Ruto and Al-Burhan, then IGAD chairman, agreed to hold a special IGAD Summit on South Sudan.