Sudan crisis: Hemeti releases audio message after days of absence
Sudan's Rapid Support Forces (RSF) chief Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo has allegedly released an audio message thanking international actors and urging his fighters to victory, shortly before a week-long ceasefire came into effect.
Dagalo, known as Hemeti, posted the four-minute long clip to his Twitter account on Monday night, after several days of not speaking or appearing publicly.
He began by apologising for the state of the country since war broke out on 15 April, which he blamed on "coup plotters and terrorists" linked to leaders in Sudan's army and its allies.
"Thank you to all brotherly and friendly nations for their efforts for our people," the paramilitary leader added, singling out Saudi Arabia, the United States and the African Union.
The conflict broke out last month between the RSF and the military, led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, after disputes over plans for the paramilitary to be integrated into the army and over the future chain of command under an internationally backed deal to shift Sudan towards democracy following decades of conflict-ridden autocracy.
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On Saturday, the warring forces agreed to a seven-day humanitarian truce after Saudi and US-sponsored talks in Jeddah.
The ceasefire began at 9.45pm Khartoum time on Monday, and there was relative calm on Tuesday morning, Reuters reported.
The week-long truce is the first deal to have been signed by the RSF and the army, and includes a monitoring mechanism involving both sides and representatives from Washington and Riyadh.
'Victory or martyrdom'
Most ceasefires agreed in Sudan since the war began have been broken almost immediately after coming into effect.
Analysts told Middle East Eye earlier this month that truces were being broken due to lack of leverage from international actors and both sides thinking they can "seize objectives through fighting rather than negotiations".
In the recording, Hemeti said the RSF was "committed to restoring the transition to democracy", and accused the "coup plotters" of seeking to repeat "the horror of the past three decades".
"Finally, a message to all the courageous RSF fighters: it is either victory or martyrdom," he concluded. "Victory is ours, God willing."
Over a million people have been displaced since the conflict began, fleeing to safer locations inside and outside Sudan.
Stocks of food, cash and essentials are dwindling, and mass looting has hit banks, embassies, factories and aid warehouses.
The fighting has also led to a collapse in law and order that the two sides blame each other for.
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