May 22, 2024

Rapid Support Forces Seize Yarmouk Weapons Factory in Sudan Amid Escalating Conflict, as Islamist Groups Accused of Attacking Saudi Arabia and Bahrain Embassies in Khartoum

RSL leader General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo
RSL leader General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo

The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) successfully seized control of the Yarmouk weapons and chemical factory in Sudan on Thursday. The capture comes as the conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the RSF intensifies, with accusations surfacing of Islamist groups targeting the Saudi Arabia and Bahrain embassies in Khartoum to sow confusion.

The Yarmouk weapons factory, a significant facility known for producing a range of weapons, including biological arms, fell under the control of the RSF, which is led by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. The development may further strengthen the RSF’s arsenal, potentially impacting the ongoing conflict.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken announced on Friday that “the U.S.-supported Sudan Conflict Observatory remote monitoring platform will start releasing public reports on violations of international humanitarian law and other abuses.”

“It is time to end the cycle of violence that is devastating the Sudanese people,” he tweeted.

Meanwhile, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional body consisting of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda, with Eritrea currently inactive, has scheduled a crucial head of state meeting for Monday. Among the agenda items are the discussion of Sudan and the election of a new IGAD chairman, prompted by Sudan’s withdrawal from its leadership position due to the escalating conflict.

South Sudan, a leading contender for the chairmanship, enjoys substantial support from member states. However, diplomatic complexities surrounding South Sudan’s involvement have arisen, with the United States showing reluctance to entertain South Sudan’s participation in discussions.

The conflict in Sudan is not limited to the clash between the SAF and RSF. The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement–North (SPLM-North), an armed group operating in the Nuba Mountains, made significant strides by capturing the capital city of Kordofan on Friday. The SPLM-North, having never signed an agreement with the government, has now expanded the scope of the war in Sudan.

Amidst these developments, concerns regarding the resumption of peace talks in Jeddah remain, as a 24-hour ceasefire may prove insufficient to address the complex issues at hand. Additionally, reports suggest that Islamist groups, not affiliated with the RSF, orchestrated the recent attacks on the Saudi Arabia and Bahrain embassies, underscoring the multi-dimensional nature of the conflict.

Further complicating matters, emerging Islamic factions claiming links with ISIS have emerged within Sudan, including elements associated with former Sudanese president Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir. Al-Bashir’s group aims to exacerbate diplomatic tensions between the SAF, RSF, and international actors involved in the region.

As the conflict unfolds, the whereabouts of Al-Bashir remain unknown, while his loyalists mobilize and carry out attacks. These actions contribute to the volatile and fluid nature of the situation on the ground, African officials told Today News Africa on Friday on condition of anonymity.

The capture of the chemical factory signifies a significant turn of events. The facility’s production capabilities, encompassing a range of weapons, including biological arms, further complicates the conflict dynamics. It is anticipated that the RSF’s control over the factory will bolster its position and potentially prolong the conflict.

As the situation continues to evolve, it remains critical to closely monitor developments and their implications for Sudan and the broader region.

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