Africa Theater

Podcast: Russia and the Sudan crisis II

In Episode 172 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg continues to document Russian support for the attempted coup that plunged Sudan into crisis and derailed a scheduled transition to civilian rule last month—as well as ongoing Russian armed support to the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the paramilitary faction that led the attempted coup and is now battling for control of the country. CNN and Deutsche Welle have reported claims of Russian weapons drops to the RSF, even as the UN pleads with the warring factions to come to the table. The RSF and Moscow's Wagner Group mercenary outfit have established a power base in Sudan through their joint control of mineral resources in Darfur and Kordofan—even as they put down the self-determination struggle of these regions' indigenous peoples.

Podcast: is Russia behind Sudan crisis?

In Episode 171 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg examines the Russian fingerprints on the attempted coup d'etat in Sudan that has plunged the country into crisis—and derailed a transition to civilian rule that was to have taken place in April under terms of a deal between the ruling junta and pro-democracy opposition. The coup attempt was led by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which was to have been absorbed into the official armed forces under terms of the transition deal. The RSF has been closely collaborating with Russian mercenary outfit the Wagner Group—especially in semi-legal gold-mining operations in Darfur and Kordofan regions. The Wagner Group appears to be operating a death squad to eliminate rival and independent gold prospectors in these regions. The arrangement points to a Kremlin-backed design to make the RSF economically independent of the Sudanese state in preparation for an eventual seizure of power. Russian plans for Moscow's first military base in Africa, at Port Sudan, could have been jeopardized by the transition to democratic rule. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.

French court stops expulsion of migrants on Mayotte

A court in the French overseas department of Mayotte on April 25 ordered the government to stop its expulsion of migrants in the island territory. In Operation Wuambushu, which means "Take Back" in the local Maore language, the government sought to dismantle a "slum" known as Talus 2 in the town of Koungou, removing a population of undocumented migrants and demolishing shelters. Talus 2 has seen repeated angry protests over the clearance plan. Mayotte is a transit point for migrants traveling from Comoros, a nearby archipelago off Southeast Africa. (Jurist, Le Journal de Mayotte)

Wagner Group 'plots' against Chad: leaked documents

The Washington Post reports April 24 that among the classified documents leaked to Discord chat platform by Massachusetts Air National Guard member Jack Teixeira are February findings from an unnamed US intelligence agency that Russia's paramilitary Wagner Group is seeking to recruit rebels to destabilize the government of Chad. One document states that Wagner is working to establish a training camp for hundreds of fighters across the border in the Central African Republic as part of an "evolving plot to topple the Chadian government."

Sudanese refugees flood into Chad

Since fighting erupted between the army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Sudan a week ago, up to 20,000 have fled across the border from Darfur region into neighboring Chad. Darfur is the central stronghold of the RSF and has seen particularly heavy fighting, including renewed attacks on civilians. According to the UN Refugee Agency, the majority of the new arrivals in Chad are women and children, who are currently sheltering out in the open. Eastern Chad already hosts over 400,000 refugees from Sudan and the new arrivals are placing additional strain on the country's overstretched public services and resources. Fighting in Sudan has continued despite calls for an Eid ceasefire. (UNHCR, OCHA)

Russian 'fingerprints' on Sudan coup attempt

As fighting continues in Sudan, derailing a transition to democratic rule that was slated for this month, commentators are noting Russian connections to the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) that sparked the crisis by apparently attempting a coup d'etat on April 15. The Kremlin's notorious mercenary force, the Wagner Group, is said to be engaged in illegal gold mining operations in Darfur and Kordofan regions in collaboration with the RSF. Operations at a mine owned by RSF warlord Mohammed Hamdan Dagolo AKA "Hemeti" in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan state have sparked protests by locals over land-grabbing and pollution. The arrangement points to a Kremlin-backed design to make the RSF economically independent of the Sudanese state in preparation for an eventual seizure of power.

'Civil war' fears as RSF attempts coup in Sudan

Fierce clashes broke out April 15 between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), with at least 56 civilians and dozens of fighters reported dead across Sudan. The fighting began in the capital Khartoum, as the RSF attempted to seize control of the presidential palace and international airport. The RSF was driven back from the airport with air-strikes. Fighting quickly spread to other cities, as the two forces attacked each other's installations and positions. The SAF claims to have taken the main Khartoum RSF base at Karari, as well as the paramilitary force's bases in the cities of Port Sudan, Kassala, Gedaref, Damazin, Kosti and Kadugli. (Al Jazeera, Radio Dabanga, Sudan Tribune, Jurist, PBS)

Ethiopia: clashes erupt in Amhara region

Armed clashes in Ethiopia's Amhara region this week left several people dead, including two Catholic Relief Services aid workers. Gun battles and mass protests broke out in a number of Amhara towns over the government's decision to absorb regional special forces into the police or national army. Some units of the security forces in Amhara—Ethiopia's second largest region—refused to disarm and resisted the federal military. Businesses closed and aid workers suspended operations.

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