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Sudan’s feared paramilitary leader signals ambition to rule the country

When Sudan’s civil war erupted in April between the army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the paramilitary group’s leader, Mohamed Hamdan “Hemedti” Dagalo, went into hiding. Many speculated he had been seriously wounded or was even dead until he appeared in a photo-op with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Wednesday. The next day, Hemedti visited Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, ostensibly to discuss strategies to end Sudan’s conflict. He also passed through Ghana and Djibouti. Analysts believe Hemedti’s real motive was securing regional support to capture all of Sudan from the army. Last month, the RSF captured Gezira state – a breadbasket for Sudan – giving the group the clear upper hand against the army. But rather than leverage military success in negotiations to end the conflict, Hemedti appears to have ambitions to rule all of Sudan, according to analysts, Sudanese journalists and diplomats. “Hemedti desperately needs people to feel that the RSF is a governing force. I think this is why Hemedti went to meet heads of state,” said Kholood Khair, a Sudan expert and founding director of the think tank Confluence Advisory. “Hemedti will try as much as possible to fashion himself into this idea of being a leader,” Khair told Al Jazeera. On December 9, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an eightnation East African bloc, released a statement saying Hemedti and army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan would meet face to face in two weeks. But Hemedti went to Uganda the day before he was supposed to meet al-Burhan for ceasefire talks in Djibouti. IGAD postponed the talks for “technical reasons”. aljazeera

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.