Skip to main content
DARFUR - 2 Apr 2024

RSF legal advisor: We no longer consider Minni Minnawi governor of Darfur

Governor of the Darfur region Minni Arko Minnawi (File photo)
Governor of the Darfur region Minni Arko Minnawi (File photo)

Mohamed Al-Mukhtar, the legal advisor of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), has said that the paramilitary outfit which has been fighting the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) since 15 April 2023 no longer recognizes Minni Arko Minnawi as the governor of the Darfur region since he joined the side of the army.

He told Radio Tamazuj at the weekend that they now consider Minnawi an enemy.

“For us (RSF), Minni Arko Minnawi is no longer the governor of Darfur as he has become a fighter with the army due to his statements and the mobilization of his forces. He is classified by us as an enemy and wherever we find him, we deal with him as we deal with remnants and militias of Gen. Al-Burhan,” he charged.Therefore, he has no relation to the region (Darfur) and its governance as the entire region is under our control, in addition to our control over parts of Al-Fasher Town which we share with the army whom we can remove.”

Relatedly, Al-Mukhtar said there can be no leniency for crimes committed in RSF-controlled areas and that they established courts to try errant individuals.

“These are field courts, both minor and major, even include members of the RSF, and any person who commits any violation is prosecuted accordingly and the perpetrator is sent to military prison,” he stated.

The RSF legal guru further said that they have arrested a very large number of those who were released from prisons by the army and some fugitives who carried arms as well as from third parties seeking to create chaos. He revealed that some of them have been prosecuted, and imprisoned, and the rest are being pursued.

Regarding peace talks and cessation of hostilities, Al-Mukhtar said they expect the parties to be called for negotiations at any moment, especially after the UN’s call to both parties to stop fighting during Ramadan. He however revealed that they have not received any official invitation so far from the previous facilitators and denied receiving a draft proposal from the Americans calling for an agreement between them and the Army.

He said their preliminary position on peace talks includes the restructuring and rebuilding of the Sudanese state on new foundations, reconstitution of the national army and other security institutions professionally and on a unified national basis. He added that governance should be federal, giving Sudan's regions the right to manage their territories.

“We do not deny that wars are accompanied by violations and this situation is normal considering war is unethical,” he acknowledged. “We rejected the war from the beginning and condemned it and we did not start the war because of the violations it entails. We will seek to deliver humanitarian aid and welcome any international efforts beyond Minnawi's calls.”

The RSF legal advisor claimed that they control more than 70 percent of the Sudanese state and described those who speak of dismantling the RSF as being nonsensical, saying the outfit was established and legalized by a law in parliament which is still valid. He insists that the enabling law cannot be abolished until a legislative council is elected to decide on the matter or by an authority higher than parliament.

Meanwhile, the spokesman of the Sudan Liberation Movement/ARMY (SLM/A)- Minnawi Faction, Sadik Ali Al-Nur, told Radio Tamazuj at the weekend that the RSF, which he referred to as a militia, has no right to talk about Minnawi’s legitimacy.

“This militia has no right to speak about the legitimacy of the governor because he (Minnawi) was appointed by the Sudanese government and not by this rebel militia (RSF) which has no power to claim recognition or non-recognition,” he stated, and added: “It (RSF) is not the entity that withdraws recognition from the governor who is recognized internationally, regionally, and as well as by the Sudanese people and the people of Darfur. The recognition or non-recognition of this militia does not concern us at all.”

Ali said that SLM/A does not fight for the army but rather stands with the Sudanese people and for the sake of the country and fights to preserve the unity of the nation and to protect the lives of citizens and their properties.

“We fight the militias, rebellion, and anyone who comes across the borders to seize Sudan,” he averred. “If the RSF speaks about remnants, they were established by the National Congress Party (NCP) and are considered the offspring of that regime. They were established and legalized by a law in a parliament that was chaired by the NCP when they fought against us under that umbrella, which is a clear contradiction.”

Ali further refuted Al-Mukhtar's claim about the RSF’s control over Darfur, describing it as mere violations against the citizens of those states. He said the governor of West Darfur State was killed and impersonated, genocide was committed against specific ethnicities, and those who remained have been displaced by RSF.

Weighing in on the take of Ali and Al Muktar, a Sudanese political analyst, Musab Mohamed Ali, told this publication that there is no discipline among the rank and file of the RSF.

“I do not believe that there is great discipline among the forces in the areas controlled by the RSF, especially regarding violations for which a committee to address negative phenomena has previously been established,” he said.Indeed, wars are accompanied by violations but that is not an excuse. It is rather necessary to protect civilians because they are not part of the conflict and all international conventions work to protect civilians during times of war.”

Mohamed pointed out that the ongoing violations reflect a lack of discipline and that their continuation increases the suffering of citizens.  

“Civilians must be protected from violations through the activation of a committee for negative phenomena rather than being only for media and political propaganda,” he concluded.