Sudan’s bloody civil war is entering a new phase as rebel forces have made attacks in a new region of the country.
A video posted to social media showed the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) convoy entering al-‘Alqa village, on the west bank of the Nile, for the first time on 15th October, 2023. The convoy consisting of over 50 combat vehicles with fighters on board entered the white state for the first time, sparking fears and a lot of speculation on the purpose of the visit.
“The total size of the convoy was about 85 to 100 combat vehicles,” said social media reports. Under the command of Brigadier Hamed Musa, the RSF troops held various meetings local police and civilians, which were filmed for propaganda purposes.
“The commander (in chief) ordered that we have to carry out a field visit to the areas I mentioned, starting in Salha (southern Omdurman) up until ad-Douiem,” said Colonel Al-Fateh Qureshi, who is a member of the RSF media team, in an official RSF video.
Shops and gas stations in ad-Douiem, 90-100 km away, were shuttered after RSF troops entered White Nile State. A SAF or pro-SAF individuals filmed this video on October 15 to dispel rumors that RSF forces had taken over the bridge in ad-Douiem.
As a second crossing over the White Nile, the bridge could be one of the RSF’s military objectives, as the Shambat Bridge in Omdurman has been repeatedly attacked by kamikaze drones.
Home to the 18th Infantry Division, the White Nile State has recently deployed some forces to Khartoum while others remain at its headquarters in Kosti. There are training camps in parts of the state, and that city is likely to be well defended. There is, however, a possibility of undefended or only lightly defended rural areas and small villages along the west bank of the Nile.
The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) are a paramilitary group that has been accused of human rights abuses in Sudan. They are currently laying siege to Jebel Aulia, a well-garrisoned city just north of White Nile State, on the east bank of the river. Along the Blue Nile, the RSF have recently occupied al-’Aylafun, Umdawwanban, and Abu Gurun.
This is a significant development, as it gives the RSF control of a key crossing point over the Blue Nile, and brings them closer to the capital, Khartoum. It also raises concerns about the safety of civilians in the area, as the RSF have been accused of indiscriminate shelling and looting.
The United Nations and the international community have called on the RSF to withdraw from Jebel Aulia and the other areas they have recently occupied. However, the RSF have shown no signs of doing so.
The situation in Sudan is complex and fluid, and it is difficult to predict what will happen next. However, the RSF’s siege of Jebel Aulia is a worrying development, and it is important to continue to monitor the situation closely.
(Additional reporting provided by Joseph Hammond)
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