US sanctions Sudan companies accused of funding war

The US Department of Treasury imposed sanctions Feb. 2 on a Sudanese financial institution and two private companies accused of funding belligerents in the ongoing civil war in the African country. The sanctions name Alkhaleej Bank and metal ore company Al-Fakher Advanced Works, said to be controlled by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), as well as development company Zadna International, controlled by the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF). In a press release, the Treasury Department accused the companies of fueling the conflict, laundering money, and engaging in "actions of policies that threaten the peace, security and stability of Sudan."

Under-Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism & Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson announced that the government was taking the action pursuant to Executive Order 14098, signed by Biden last May in response to the conflict, and expressed the department's dedication to disrupting funding to the belligerents.

"The conflict in Sudan continues, in part, due to key individuals and entities that help fund the continuation of violence," the press release said. It stated that the goal of the sanctions is not to punish but to bring about a "positive change in behavior."  The sanctions freeze assets from the companies in the US or in possession of US persons, unless expressly exempt. They also prohibit transactions with the companies by US nationals or persons within the US.

The latest conflict in Sudan began in April 2023. According to the UN, 7.6 million people have been displaced by the fighting, in addition to more than 13,000 killed, amid numerous human rights abuses alleged against both the RSF and SAF. The EU adopted sanctions in January against six entitles linked to the conflict.

Despite the spiraling humanitarian crisis, Sudan's army chief Abdel Fattan al-Burhan has insisted that no ceasefire is in the offing, citing reports of RSF ethnic cleansing in Darfur region. "The whole world witnessed these rebel forces committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in West Darfur and the rest of Sudan," he said. "For that reason, we have no reconciliation with them, we have no agreement with them."

From Jurist, Feb. 2. Used with permission.

Note: The European Union sanctions targeted two companies based in the United Arab Emirates, which is accused of backing the RSF. 

Internet silence in Sudan

All of Sudan's three main internet providers have been completely shut down, according to a post from internet monitor Netblocks, significantly disrupting communications for individuals within conflict zones and those trying to escape violence. The cause of the shutdown remains a subject of dispute, with the Sudanese government and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) pointing fingers at each other, further complicating the dire situation as the country grapples with its humanitarian crisis. (Jurist)

'Horrific' abuses seen in Sudan war

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a report Feb. 23 detailing multiple indiscriminate attacks by both the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in densely populated areas, including sites sheltering internally displaced people—particularly in the capital Khartoum, as well as in Kordorfan and Darfur—during fighting between April and December 2023.