Coup d’état in Sudan: who are the two generals and former friends who are contending for power

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The former represents military power in Sudan while the latter leads a militia group that has formed in Darfur. old friendsthe generals Abdel Fatah al Burhan and Mohamed Hamdan Daglo Now they are fighting for control of the country.

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Al Burhan is the de facto leader of Sudan since the October 2021 coup. Born in Gandatu, a city north of Khartoum, the 62-year-old general has become one of the few consensus figures at the helm of the country.

A former army commander under ousted dictator Omar al Bashir, Al Burhan expected the loyalty of his deputy, General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, also known as “Hemedti”.

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Both staged the coup which ended Sudan’s transition to civilian rule. But the two sides are currently waging fierce fighting that has already left more than 100 civilians dead and blame each other for the violence.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo in Khartoum.  photo by AFP

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo in Khartoum. photo by AFP

“Trojan Horse”

Al Burhan is accused by his opponents of being one a Trojan horse of the Islamists and leaders since the time of al Bashir, who ruled the country with an iron fist for 30 years.

After the fall of Bashir in 2019, al Burhan led the Sovereign Council together with civilian political parties to lead the country towards democracy.

But before the coup, the general, who attended military academies in Sudan, Egypt and Jordan, arrested nearly all ministers and civil officials.

His men describe him as “a commander who knows how to lead his troops,” an officer told AFP at the time of the coup.

The general, a father of three, coordinated the sending of Sudanese troops to Yemen, according to local media. Also promoted the normalization of relations with Israel and maintains good ties with neighboring Egypt.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, in 2021. Photo AFP

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, in 2021. Photo AFP

In the Gulf, on the other hand, many observers point out that Daglo, by now his enemy, was able to prevail better.

Dirty work

Born in 1975 into an Arab tribe on the border with Chad, Daglo managed to create allies in the UAE and Saudi Arabia after sending his men to fight in Libya or within the Riyadh-led military coalition in Yemen.

He currently has a weight advantage. Its Rapid Support Forces (RSF) created in 2013 and integrated into the regular army, they control numerous gold mines, recalls the European Council on Foreign Relations. And the United States assures that it has the support of the Russian paramilitaries of the Wagner group.

Over the years, Hemedti has established himself as a key player in the country. In the early 2000s, he was just the leader of a small Western militia.

But after numerous battles, raids and other atrocities which earned the dictator al Bashir charges of war crimes, the general managed to gain a foothold at the top of power.

Daglo headed the Janjawid militias that al Bashir had ordered to apply scorched earth policy against non-Arab ethnic minorities in Darfur in 2003.

At the time, “Khartoum’s elite saw him as a criminal born illiterate that he was only armed to do the dirty work of the Darfur war“Alan Bosweel, researcher at the International Crisis Group, told AFP.

Hundreds of thousands dead later, Hemedti managed to extend his sphere of influence from this region, where he still has his headquarters, to Khartoum. His men, integrated into the RSF, now they are trying to take power from the army.

But during the 2021 coup, Daglo offered his help to al-Burhan. The man now assures that he has changed and aligns with civilians to denounce the military.

He has been using social media for months to target the youngest, in a country where two-thirds of the population is under 30.

Source: Clarin

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