Sudan Armed Forces announces investigation of alleged beheadings of paramilitary group members News
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Sudan Armed Forces announces investigation of alleged beheadings of paramilitary group members

The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) announced Friday that it would investigate the alleged beheading of two members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group by SAF soldiers. The announcement came in response to the circulation of a video purporting to show SAF soldiers carrying the severed heads of RSF members.

In response to the video, the RSF said on its X (formerly Twitter)  account that it strongly condemns the alleged beheading of three of its members and calls on the international community and human rights organizations to denounce these violations against the Sudanese people. In addition, RSF stated that their soldiers would not employ similar tactics against the tens of thousands of SAF personnel they hold prisoner.

Faced with the RSF’s accusations, the SAF issued a press statement saying that they were conducting an investigation and that those involved in the beheadings would be held accountable if they were found to be part of the Sudanese army. The SAF also reiterated its strict adherence to the laws and customs of war and the rules of conduct during military operations.

Despite the assertions of both the SAF and the RSF regarding their respect for the laws of war, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) informed the UN Security Council in January 2024 that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the Sudanese military, including the RSF, is committing war crimes in Darfur. The ICC is investigating crimes including murder, rape, and destruction of property, and has called on all parties involved to cease their actions.

In April 2023, Sudan plunged into an armed conflict between the SAF and the RSF, who had previously allied in 2019 to overthrow dictator Omar al-Bashir. Since 2021, the factions have disagreed over the new transition, security sector reform, command and control, and the integration of the RSF into the national army. These disagreements culminated on April 15, 2023, in violent clashes that have claimed at least 5,000 civilian lives, injured more than 12,000, and displaced more than 5.7 million.