Senior RSF Commander Charged With Espionage by RSF Intelligence

Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger
Bianca holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Otago, New Zealand. As the Africa Desk Chief for Atlas, her expertise spans conflict, politics, and history. She is also the Editor for The ModernInsurgent and has interests in yoga and meditation.

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A senior Rapid Support Forces (RSF) commander, Brigadier-General Al-Tahir Jahallah, was arrested by RSF intelligence personnel in the Tamboul area of Al-Jazirah state on June 22nd, according to a source close to the Paris-based outlet The Sudan Tribune. Jahallah stands accused of spying for the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), who have been locked in a power struggle with the paramilitary RSF since April 2023.

What You Need to Know

RSF Commander Abu Aqla Kikal, a former North Sudanese army officer, has taken over Jahallah’s duties in Al-Jazirah, as Jahallah was the RSF’s second-in-command for operations in the state. The whereabouts of Jahallah are currently unknown.

Wad Madani, the capital of Al-Jazirah state, was seized by the RSF in December 2023, with the SAF launching a counter-attack in early May, attempting to encircle Al-Jazirah from the southern Sennar axis, Western Al-Manaqil axis, and the eastern Al-Faw axis.

Despite the launch of the SAF’s counter-attack, on June 5th, the RSF pushed into Al-Jazirah’s village of Wad al-Noora, killing nearly 100 civilians.

The Details

As previously reported, the ousting of President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019, in a joint move by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), resulted in a power struggle between the RSF’s Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemedti’ Dagalo and the SAF’s Abdel Fattah Burhan.

A series of attempts to transition to civilian rule followed, with each attempt being delayed by both Hemedti and Burhan.

In December 2020, following pressure from the United States, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, the two de facto leaders signed a deal to implement a transitional government in April 2023.

As part of the deal, the RSF was to be integrated into the SAF over a two-year period. However, Dagalo sought to integrate his forces into the SAF over a ten-year period.

Sudan’s current conflict is a result of this disagreement between Hemedti and Burhan and has since resulted in the displacement of nearly 8 million Sudanese civilians.

According to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), there was a 30 percent increase in violence against civilians in the month of May, with the bulk of the incidents perpetrated by the RSF in Al-Jazirah and North Darfur states.

The North Darfuri city of El-Fasher is the state’s last remaining SAF stronghold, with the RSF launching an attack on El-Fasher’s last functioning hospital in early June.

So, What Now?

As the RSF continues to gain ground, incidents of infighting are likely to increase, as Hemedti and his allies seek to consolidate their power within the RSF.