General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Sudan’s army chief, has warned that the war he is leading against the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in his country poses a threat to other neighbouring African countries.
Sudan’s de facto leader, therefore, urged the United Nations and the international community to designate RSF as a terrorist group.
Burhan made this known on Thursday while delivering his speech at the UN General Assembly, in New York, US.
The RSF leader Hamdan Dagalo said he was prepared for a ceasefire for the first since the war began in April in Sudan which has killed thousands of people.
Back in 2021, the two generals staged a coup, but in recent months a power struggle between them has led to their men taking up arms against each other.
Speaking to the UN on Thursday, Burhan said his party was open to peace talks, and wanted to “put an end to this war and to alleviate the suffering of our people”, but said the RSF refused.
However, in a rare video message to the UN, his opponent, Gen Dagalo – also known as Hemedti – said he was ready to engage in talks.
Addressing the UN he also alluded to the RSF’s ties to Wagner, a Russian mercenary group who are operating across Africa in the Central African Republic, Sudan, Libya, Mozambique and Mali.
“The danger of this war is now a threat to regional and international peace and security as those rebels have sought the support of outlaws and terrorist groups from different countries in the region and the world,” he said.
Burhan also argued the RSF should be considered a terrorist group as they had “supported killing, burning, raping, forced displacement, looting, stealing, torture, trafficking of arms and drugs, bringing mercenaries or recruiting children”.He said those crimes required accountability and punishment.
However, Gen Burhan has also faced criticisms for military actions throughout the conflict.
Sudan’s civil war erupted in April when members of the RSF were deployed around the country in a move the army, led by Gen Burhan, saw as a threat.
It is disputed who fired the first shot but the fighting swiftly escalated in different parts of the country. The fighting has killed at least 7,500 people according to NGO Acled and displaced millions.