Written by Sarah Osman

A day before the arrest of a number of ministers and civilian officials in Sudan, including Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok, the announcement by the Head of the Sovereign Council General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan to dissolve the councils of sovereignty and ministers, impose a state of emergency in the country, and suspend the work of articles of the constitutional document. The Council of Sovereignty, in the words of

Who’s Hamidati?

On April 13, 2019, Lt. Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Daqlu, known as “Hamidati”, was promoted to the rank of first team and appointed vice-president of the Transitional Military Council headed by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, following the dismissal of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on April 11. This came hours after Hamidati announced his refusal to participate in the council, “until the people’s demands are met and started.” On August 20,2019 , the 39-month Sovereign Transition Command Council , which has 11 members — six civilians and five military personnel — was formed, and Hamidati became the first vice-president of the council, which al-Burhan also chaired. Hamidati’s rise to the forefront of Sudan’s political scene seemed strange, coming from outside the military and traditional political parties. He is one of the key elements that overthrew former President Al-Bashir, whom he had approached, supported, legitimized the tribal militia he led, and integrated it into the military under the name of the Rapid Support Forces. Hamidati is from the Rizeikat tribe of Arab origin, which inhabits the Darfur region of western Sudan. He left school at an early age and worked in his 20s in the camel trade between Libya, Mali and Chad, as well as protecting commercial convoys from bandits in his tribe’s control areas. Hamidati made a fortune from his work in the 1990s, enabling him to form his own tribal militia , and when gold was discovered in Jabal Amer, his militis took control of his mines. Hemedti’s story began in 2003, when Bashir’s government mobilized Arab shepherds to fight African rebels in Darfur, and the nucleus of these forces, later known as the Janjaweed, was made up of camel herders. Hamidati, who worked alongside Hilal ( who was the most famous and notorious Janjaweed leader was Musa Hilal, leader of the Muhamed clan), emerged when he was able to expand his militia from Mahriyah and include other tribes, competing with his former leader Hilal and later appointing bashir following a dispute with the latter. Al-Bashir legitimized the militia by calling it the “Rapid Support Forces” in accordance with a presidential decree issued in 2013. Its main strength was 5,000 armed and active long before that. The army chief of staff did not like it, as he wanted the money to go to strengthen the regular forces, but Al-Bashir was afraid to put much power in the hands of the NISS, having just expelled his manager on charges of conspiring against him. The Rapid Support Forces (SDF) became accountable to Al-Bashir himself,who gave Hamidati the title of “my protection”. The Rapid Support Forces have participated in a number of regional conflicts, most notably their role in fighting within the Saudi-led coalition forces in southern Yemen and along the Tehama Plain — which includes the coastal city of Hodeidah. Hamidati also provided units to help guard Saudi Arabia’s border with Yemen. Reports indicated that the number of “rapid support forces” led by Hamidati reached more than 40,000 in 2019. Competition between Hamidati and Hilal intensified when gold was discovered in Jabal Amer in North Darfur state in 2012. It came at the moment sudan was facing an economic crisis because South Sudan had separated, capturing 75 percent of the country’s oil. Hilal militiamen forcibly took over the area, killed more than 800 Bani Hussein tribesmen and became wealthy by mining and selling gold. By 2017, gold sales had reached 40 percent of Sudan’s exports. Hamidati was keen to control it. He already owned some mines and set up a trading company known as Junaid. But when Hilal challenged President Al-Bashir again, preventing the government from reaching the Jabal Amer mines, Hamiditi’s forces launched a counterattack. In November 2017, his forces arrested Hilal and the Rapid Support Forces captured Sudan’s most profitable gold mines. Overnight, Hamidati became the country’s largest gold trader and by controlling the border with Chad and Libya , Hilal remained in prison. “Through gold and officially approved mercenary activity, he controls Sudan’s largest “political budget,” says Alex de Wall, executive director of the World Peace Foundation at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in the United States, in an article he wrote for the BBC. The Junaid company, run by his relatives, became a huge group covering investment, mining, transportation, car rental, iron and steel. Hamidati had become one of the richest men in Sudan, when Al-Bashir was dismissed. Following al-Bashir’s dismissal, Hamidati appeared weekly in the news distributing money to police officers to return them to street service, electricity workers to return them to their workplaces, teachers to return to school, or distribute cars to tribal chiefs. He also has increased the number of rapid support forces participating in Yemen and deployed a brigade in Libya to fight alongside Khalifa Haftar’s forces. Rapid support forces took control of the Camps of the African Union Peacekeeping Force, which began to withdraw from Darfur, before the United Nations stopped the withdrawal. The SSF was accused of participating in what was known in the media as the “General Command Massacre” when armed forces said to belong to the military council and support forces broke up a peaceful sit-in on June 3, 2019, killing more than 120 people, and many of those killed at the time in the Nile River.Since Hamidati was appointed deputy to the junta and then a member of al-Burhan’s Transitional Sovereignty Council, media reports occasionally show differences between the two men. Despite numerous statements by the Council to emphasize the absence of conflict, and to assert itself that the armed forces of which Al-Burhan is its commander-in-chief , and the Rapid Support Forces led by Hamidi are “at the heart of one man”, differences have resonated on a number of issues, including the movement and deployment of support forces in Khartoum and other states, as well as the reported attempt by rapid support to make deals of an economic nature, with a number of international companies without the knowledge of the State. According to media reports, citing military sources, the conflict is primarily about personal influence, and not a conflict between the armed forces and rapid support. Analysts rule out a military confrontation between the two sides if their differences intensify, given the dire consequences. So far, it is not clear what role Hamidi will play in the Sudanese political arena

By sarah

Sarah Othman, biochemistry student, holds a master's degree 1 from the Lebanese University. Seeking to obtain a second degree in the field of informatics. She works in the media field at Rahal Global News. Interested in cultural, artistic and news matters. A teacher in a school, and a private teacher . Holding laboratory experience in a government hospital and in private laboratories.