US sanctions have thrust RSF into a legitimacy crisis, as its bid for political respectability is now in jeopardy; the army reassesses its own prospects.
The US imposes sanctions on RSF deputy commander Abdelrahim Hamdan Dagalo for acts of violence and human rights abuse by his troops in their months-long conflict with Sudan’s army
Abdelrahim Hamdan Dagalo – brother of Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) commander Mohamed Hamdan “Hemedti” Dagalo and his deputy – has had his assets frozen in the United States, while Abdul Rahman Juma, an RSF commander in West Darfur, was hit with a visa ban.
With that, the paramilitary force has lost hope of acquiring political legitimacy after the duo were sanctioned on September 6, according to analysts and activists.
Both were sanctioned over human rights abuses, specifically atrocities in Sudan’s West Darfur province. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Juma was sanctioned for ordering the June 15 assassination of West Darfur’s Governor Khamis Abdallah Abakar.
“The sanctions really are a blow to the personal brand of the Dagalo family,” said Kholood Kair, a Sudanese expert and founding director of Confluence Advisory.
In 2019, the RSF started an extensive, and expensive, effort to rehabilitate its image from a violent militia responsible for numerous atrocities in the Darfur region to a benevolent force defending calls for democracy.