This week, General Mohamad Hamdane Daglo, also known as “Hemedti,” the commander of Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), is embarking on a tour of East Africa. This marks his first visit since the commencement of the war in Sudan on April 15, 2023. Initially anticipated in Djibouti, the RSF leader will now make an immediate visit to Kenya.
Hemedti’s journey initially took him to Uganda on December 27, where he met with President Yoweri Museveni, followed by Ethiopia on December 28, where he engaged with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. In both countries, discussions revolved around the conflict in Sudan. These movements come at a time when the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is intensifying efforts to bring General Daglo and General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the army chief, to the negotiation table.
The anticipated meeting in Djibouti on December 29, under IGAD’s auspices, is now scheduled for early January 2024, according to the organization. It informed Khartoum that “Hemedti” will not attend for “technical reasons,” without providing further details.
The two adversaries have not met since the conflict began over eight months ago. All previous attempts to organize a meeting have failed due to a lack of genuine willingness from both parties to end the war, each hoping for a victorious outcome.
Buoyed by recent military advances in the state of Al-Jazira, including its capital Wad Madani, General “Hemedti” is undertaking this East African tour. After Uganda and Ethiopia, he will visit a third IGAD member country, Kenya. His objective is to present “his vision for engaging in ceasefire negotiations,” as expressed on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter).
According to several observers, including Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who previously undertook his African tour, General Daglo aims to demonstrate that he is the strongman of Sudan and has his perspective to share with leaders of IGAD member countries before heading to Djibouti. He hopes to rally their support for his cause.