Sudan.. Combating terrorism and the situation of armed movements raises questions

Khartoum- A security source expressed his astonishment at the Sudanese Defense and Security Council’s announcement of the establishment of a special force to combat terrorism, despite the presence of such a force in the armed forces and the intelligence service. Some armed movements also denounced the decision to remove the armed struggle forces from the capital and major cities.

In a remarkable development, and in conjunction with Monday’s demonstrations, which ended with the killing of 7 protesters in Khartoum and the injury of dozens after security forces fired live bullets, the Sudanese Defense and Security Council announced the establishment of a special force to combat terrorism, to confront what it called potential threats.

At the same time, the Council directed the forces of armed struggle movements to gather outside Khartoum and the main cities in the assembly areas, for the purpose of enforcing security arrangements.

Terror or protests?

Security expert Major General Amin Ismail said that the formation of special forces to combat terrorism is always done if there are external threats from organized groups, and they want to disturb the internal security of the state.

He explained to Al-Jazeera Net that everything that harms the public interest and the interests of citizens is considered a threat to the security of the state and an act of terrorism, and added, “Therefore, forces with special capabilities are well trained and have regional, international and local information.”

Ismail said that the Sudanese leadership appreciates the situation to form such forces, referring to the establishment of anti-terror forces in Sudan in the seventies under the leadership of the armed forces, and the police established an anti-terror unit, and he believes that the establishment of this new force will be to strengthen these groups.

But observers have linked the establishment of this force to the escalation of protests demanding a civil state, and they said that what the Sovereign Council’s statement came out with is related to the demonstrations.

The military expert, Walid Ezz El-Din, told Al-Jazeera Net that the formation of a force to combat terrorism seems illogical, and he questioned the feasibility of forming it with the presence of highly trained and specialized forces in combating espionage and terrorism, and the presence of a complete administration of the security apparatus concerned with combating terrorism.

Ezz El-Din indicated that the council valued the efforts made by the General Intelligence elements in dismantling terrorist cells with preemptive operations against schemes that target the security and stability of the homeland, and said that this means the existence of this force in the first place.

For his part, the media advisor to the Prime Minister in the dissolved government, Fayez Al-Sulaik, said that the decision to form a force to combat terrorism at this time, with the escalation of demonstrations, raises many questions about the nature and objectives of this force.

He told Al Jazeera Net that its formation casts doubts that its purpose is to exercise more repression against peaceful demonstrators, “at a time when the coup authority has been ruling the emergency law since October 25, 2021,” noting that the law grants the regular forces immunity from accountability over All acts, including extrajudicial killings.

Al-Silik added, “In the past, there was a counter-terrorism unit affiliated with the Security and Intelligence Service, with the presence of the Operations Authority, which is a body similar to special forces whose mission is to carry out special operations, including participating in the suppression of peaceful demonstrations.

Fayez Al-Silik: The law grants the regular forces immunity from accountability for all actions (Al-Jazeera)

The position of the armed movements

The directive issued by the Security and Defense Council coincided with the gathering of the armed struggle movements that signed the Juba Peace Agreement outside Khartoum and the main cities, with the accusations rising of their participation in the suppression of peaceful protests.

The directive issued by the Council was based on the provisions of the Juba Peace Agreement for security arrangements, which include the Darfur movements and the two regions “South Kordofan and Blue Nile”. transitional.

Ismail said that the request for the armed movements’ forces to leave Khartoum and the main cities is to address fundamental mistakes that occurred in the Juba peace negotiations, which were represented in not specifying the movements’ equipment and preparing the forces, which were asked to submit statements of this in the assembly areas, which were also not specified.

The security expert pointed out that the agreement limited its presence to 50 kilometers from the border, and outside the main cities.

He added that the entry of these forces to the capital last year was an attempt to impose a fait accompli to obtain their salaries and logistical equipment, pointing out that there had been abuses in certain locations, and that locations for them had been identified in Khartoum North, East Nile, and others.

Ismail said that there are leaks stating that the Revolutionary Front refuses to leave and adheres to the procedures of security arrangements, adding, “I think it wants to make arrangements within the capital to put more pressure on the government regarding the issue of equipment that was raised in mythical numbers.”

He also talked about the existence of groups that are mixed and others that left the Revolutionary Front and are pressing for gains, warning that this will waste the Juba Agreement, harm national security, and possibly enter the country into the square of conflicts again.

In a statement issued by one of the Darfur armed movements, the advisor for political and administrative affairs in the Sudan Liberation Movement-Transitional Council, Seif El-Din Issa, denied the presence of forces affiliated with the movement in Khartoum state and all cities, and the statement stated that the forces in the cities are concerned with securing the important figures referred to in the agreement. .

The statement rejected the link between the killing of demonstrators and the presence of forces for armed movements in Khartoum, and demanded that the Security and Defense Council name the movements that have forces in the cities of Sudan.

However, the former media advisor Al-Silik said that the council’s decision to remove the armed movements’ forces is difficult to explain unless the main motives are clarified, noting that these forces had to be redeployed within the combat zones before the peace agreement after the process of limiting them and determining their number and equipment, and before starting the integration process and layoffs.

He told Al Jazeera Net that what raises questions about this decision is its coincidence with the authorities’ talk about the presence of a third party who is killing the demonstrators, and he said, “Does the decision include all forces or the forces of certain movements?”

In the context, Osama Saeed, spokesman for the Revolutionary Front – the grouping of movements that signed the Juba Agreement – said in a press statement – there is no presence of forces in the name of the Revolutionary Front in Khartoum, and security arrangements are made with the armed struggle movements in Darfur and Blue Nile.

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