Saturday, October 28, 2023

RSF: Egyptian soldiers captured in Sudan to be released


The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the Sudanese army are currently engaged in a deadly armed conflict, and a recent video released by the RSF shows Egyptian troops in custody. Egypt has confirmed that a group of its soldiers has been captured in Sudan, and the RSF has stated that it will cooperate in returning them.

The video released by the RSF shows a group of men wearing Egyptian army fatigues seated on the ground and speaking with members of the RSF. Another clip shows RSF members standing beside a military aircraft bearing Egyptian Air Force signs, celebrating the plane’s alleged seizure in Merowe. The Egyptian Armed Forces have released a statement saying that they are working to bring their troops back, claiming that they were there to conduct joint training with their Sudanese counterparts.

Egyptian and Sudanese militaries have conducted several joint exercises before, including naval drills announced earlier this month at Port Sudan on the Red Sea amid rising tensions with Ethiopia. Cairo and Khartoum have been increasingly deepening their military ties, with their armies signing a military cooperation agreement in March 2021 that covered training and border security.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who strongly supports Sudan’s army and pro-army political parties, has tried to improve relations with Sudan after former President Omar al-Bashir lost power in a mass uprising in 2019. El-Sisi, who took power in 2013 after a military coup, had a phone call with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday, expressing concern about events in Sudan and calling for dialogue.

The Egyptian foreign ministry has also been in contact with the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, to coordinate and discuss efforts to stop the violence. An emergency session of the Arab League was held on Sunday to discuss Sudan after Egypt and Saudi Arabia requested it. The 22-member organization was originally founded in Cairo in 1945 and currently counts Sudan among its members.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, an Egyptian politician and the former foreign minister of Egypt, has been the secretary general of the Arab League since 2016. Aboul Gheit on Saturday condemned the hostilities, particularly as they come during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when fighting is shunned. He said the Arab League will work toward a ceasefire and ensuring the safety of civilians.

The situation in Sudan is complex and volatile, with multiple armed groups vying for power and influence. The RSF is a paramilitary force that was originally formed to fight rebel groups in Darfur, but has since been accused of committing human rights abuses and war crimes. The Sudanese army is also involved in the conflict, and there are reports of heavy fighting in several areas.

The capture of Egyptian soldiers by the RSF adds another layer of complexity to the situation, and highlights the growing regional tensions in the area. Egypt has been increasingly assertive in its foreign policy, particularly with regards to Ethiopia and its construction of a massive dam on the Nile River. Sudan is caught in the middle of this dispute, as it relies on the Nile for much of its water supply.

The situation in Sudan is likely to remain volatile in the coming days and weeks, as various actors jockey for power and influence. The international community will need to work together to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, and ensure that civilians are protected from harm.

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