US announces sanctions against Sudan army and paramilitaries as violence continues

(Khartoum) The United States on Thursday announced sanctions against the army and paramilitaries in the capacity war in Sudan, where bombing raids on a market in Khartoum killed dozens of civilians.

Posted at 6:53 am

Updated at 3:51 p.m.

“There is heavy artillery fire,” a resident of the northern suburbs of Khartoum, who has been under a barrage of fire since the previous day, tells AFP.

On Monday evening, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane’s army and General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo’s Rapid Support Forces (FSR) paramilitaries nevertheless accepted a new ceasefire. But like a dozen others, it fizzled out.

After the military broke up talks to create safe corridors for civilians and humanitarian aid, the White House went tough.

She announced sanctions against four companies: two army groups and two companies, including one involved in gold mining in Sudan and run by General Daglo and two of his brothers.

According to a 2019 study, the latter two groups provided FSRs with millions of dollars from and into dirham accounts in the United Arab Emirates.

“Sanctions are a tool,” agrees researcher Alex de Waal. But Sudan, which has been under US sanctions for two decades, “represents a classic case of sanctions that never solved anything,” he continues.

Because the two enemy generals are difficult to get hold of: General Daglo is considered one of the richest men in Sudan – the third largest gold producer in Africa – and General Burhane, like all his colleagues under the embargo, has developed techniques to circumvent international sanctions.

For the Sudanese author Raga Makawi, the sanctions “can have devastating consequences for the population: They destroy the economy and turn everything into illegal business.” »

Urgent call for blood donations

Local violence is only increasing. On Wednesday, artillery fire and army airstrikes killed “18 civilians and injured 106 others” at a market in southern Khartoum, according to a committee of human rights lawyers.


A bomb attack in Khartoum on Janum last May

The “Resistance Committee,” which organizes mutual aid among district residents, denounced a “catastrophic situation” and launched an “urgent” call for “doctors and blood donations.”

At the same time, the FSR shot at civilians “who wanted to prevent them from stealing one of their cars,” the committee says. “Three civilians died after being hit by bullets and prevented from going to hospital by RSF.”

According to the NGO ACLED, the war killed more than 1,800 people and displaced more than 1.2 million.

In addition, more than 350,000 people have fled to neighboring countries. According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people live in Chad, displaced by deadly fighting in Darfur across the border, whose entire regions are completely cut off from the world, without electricity or telephones.

There, new calls to arm civilians are raising fears of a “total civil war,” according to the civil bloc, which was ousted from power by the 2021 coup of the two then-allied generals.

Heba Rachid fled Khartoum to Port-Sudan (east) hoping to find a donor who could pay for a plane or boat ticket abroad.

“The FSR destroyed everything in our house,” she told AFP. And today, “we don’t know how to find food or take care of our children.”

“Hospitals became barracks”

No corridor has been opened for the humanitarian aid that 25 of the 45 million Sudanese now need. The few shipments that could be transported only cover a tiny part of the immense demand.

“The security situation severely limits our ability to carry out humanitarian activities in Khartoum beyond phone follow-up,” said Fatima Mohammed Cole, second in command of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Sudan.

“All our attempts to enter the city to help the refugees there have failed and both of our offices have been ransacked,” she continues.

World Food Program (WFP) director Cindy McCain has denounced looting that is endangering “essential” food supplies for “4.4 million people”.

Even before the war, every third Sudanese was suffering from hunger, long power cuts were the order of the day and the health system was on the verge of collapse.

The Ministry of Health accused the FSRs of stealing “29 ambulances” and turning “34 hospitals” into “barracks” in the capital.

Three quarters of the hospitals in the combat zones are out of order, the others are struggling with almost empty reserves and failed generators due to lack of fuel.