Sudan’s paramilitary force has posted a video on Twitter of its leader addressing fighters – his first video appearance since the conflict erupted in April.
Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as “Hemedti”, looked thin in the footage and commentators say he was holding one of his arms oddly. There has been speculation that the commander, who is in his late 40s, has been injured in the war.
His speech included his usual rhetoric against Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the military with whom he is involved in a bitter power struggle for control of the country.
He said if the leadership of the army changed, he would agree to a peace deal within 72 hours.
Hemedti first rose to power through the ranks of the Janjaweed militia, accused of ethnic cleansing during the Darfur conflict. The RSF was created by former President Omar al-Bashir, who was ousted after street protests in 2019.
The RSF leader backed his removal as a way to manoeuvre himself into a more powerful position. But his alliance with Gen Burhan fell apart disastrously three months ago.
Since the war began the RSF has moved into bases in many residential areas of the three cities that make up Greater Khartoum – Bahri, Khartoum and Omdurman – that are often hit by air strikes.
In his speech, Hemedti was particularly vitriolic about Yasir al-Atta, a top-ranking army officer who is leading operations in Omdurman.
He apologised to Sudanese people for the “disaster of the war”, which he maintained had been imposed on the RSF.
Surrounded by armed fighters in the five-minute clip, he also denied that those accused of mass looting in Khartoum and elsewhere were RSF members.