Sudan has dared Kenya to a ‘battle’ as the diplomatic spat between Khartoum and Nairobi takes a new shape amidst ongoing violence in the northern African nation.
Yasser Al-Atta, a general in the Sudan Armed Forces and member of the Supreme Council told William Ruto, Kenya’s president, to bring the Kenyan Defence Forces (KDF) to a fight with his troops in a clear escalation of animosity that has been simmering between the two countries in the past few months.
Ruto is the chairman of a four-nation appointed by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to mediate the ongoing conflict between Sudan’s national army and the paramilitary wing, the Rapid Support Forces.
The government of Sudan, however, has been protesting the appointment of Ruto to chair the talks on suspicion that he is not neutral.
The East African regional bloc – EAC said in early July in Djibouti, where Ruto was bestowed with the coheirship’s baton, that they are considering deploying forces from the block to protect civilians in Sudan, a decision that Khartoum has vehemently rejected.
“Leave the East African Forces [you] come and bring the Kenyan army to fight us. I assure you, none of you will return to Kenya after that,” Gen. Al-Atta said in a video clip that has been doing the rounds on social media.
The regional forces are currently carrying out a similar exercise in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where M23 rebels have been fighting government forces.
Sudan’s conflict erupted on April 15, and despite numerous ceasefire deals, no sign of any meaningful solution has been forthcoming.
Already, Mohamed walked out of the Jeddah Talks that were spearheaded by the US and Saudi Arabia. In Djibouti, representatives of Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman al-Burhan, the supreme leader who controls the national forces, refused to attend the meeting chaired by Ruto.
They accused Ruto of ‘disrespecting the sovereignty of Sudan’ for taking up the role without consulting al-Burhan about whether he had reservations.
The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) are headed by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, whom Al-Atta accused of being a close ally of Ruto and “another” unnamed country.
“The state that supports you (RSF) and the mercenaries like you with money must also bring its army… leave the East African forces and come with your army to intervene, and we are waiting for you,” Al-Atta added in his claims.