EU accused of “hiding” links to Sudanese armed groups in migration funding

Rights groups and researchers say the RSF has been deployed by the Sudanese government to police Sudan’s borders, and has become heavily involved in the process, despite being accused of abuses. Formed from the former Janjaweed militias accused of war crimes and genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region, and deployed to other conflict zones in Sudan since it was formalised, the RSF is also accused of being a cause of refugees fleeing Sudan. A report by Dutch think tank Clingendael in September 2018 highlighted that at least 160 million euros have been allocated to Sudan since 2016. Quoting EU officials, the report said thousands of migrants were intercepted every year on Sudan’s borders, largely in operations assigned to the RSF. It also quoted migrants who said were tortured by RSF fighters after being caught, or had to pay bribes, and that on some occasions it was RSF fighters who were smuggling them. Sudanese researcher Suliman Baldo told Middle East Eye that the EU, while not directly funding the RSF, allowed a situation where now ousted president Omar al-Bashir was able to “whitewash” the RSF’s reputation by assigning these operations to them. “The EU looked the other way, it didn’t complain about this”, said Baldo, a senior advisor at the Enough Project, which campaigns for solutions to major conflicts in Africa. “It didn’t complain that the RSF were implicated in the several incidences of being involved in human trafficking. It’s a very important issue. The EU needs to seriously subject itself to a thorough review to the negative consequences it has had, chief among them that it legitimised a deadly militia.” The RSF have themselves claimed to have carried out operations to intercept migrants and Hemeti has also made several speeches demanding the EU recognise his efforts – the most recent last Saturday. “[RSF] protects the Europeans from the influx of millions of irregular migrants,” he said. “We work on behalf of the Europeans, we protect their national security.”

Kaamil Ahmed in EU accused of ‘hiding’ links to Sudanese armed groups in migration funding (