Sudan, laboratory of Russian expansion in Africa

“Russia has the right to act in the interests of its citizens and to protect its people. It is his right under the Constitution and the law. » This is how the number two of the military junta, in power in Sudan since the putsch which, in October 2021, overthrew the civil authorities, is expressed on Russian television, the day after the invasion of Ukraine. .

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General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, better known by his nickname “Hemetti”, is the feared leader of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), these militias which, after raging in Darfur, repress everywhere the protest demonstrations against the coup. State. Arrived in Moscow on the eve of the Russian offensive, he stayed there for six long days, accompanied by the ministers of energy, mines, agriculture and finance, in order to clearly mark the commitment of the putschists of Khartoum to the sides of Putin. Sudan has become a veritable laboratory for Russian expansion on the continent, while attention in France is more readily focused on the Central African Republic, even Mali.

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From Bashir to Burhane

Relations between the Russian and Sudanese military are old, many executives of the ruling junta having been trained in Moscow. But it is the ostracism weighing on the dictator Omar Al-Bashir, prosecuted for genocide by the International Criminal Court, which will strengthen the links at the top.

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It was probably from this period that the Kremlin encouraged the Sudanese generals to sabotage the democratic transition, an undermining work that culminated, in October 2021, with the putsch of General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhane, actively supported by Hemetti.

According to a well-established practice of obstruction on the Syrian file, Moscow opposes any condemnation by the UN of the junta in power in Khartoum. The Russian mercenaries of the Wagner group, closely linked to the FSR, openly returned to Sudan, where their inability to defend Bashir’s regime had weakened them for a while. It is true that the deposed dictator had multiplied the facilities granted to Wagner, making Sudan the bridgehead for the advance of the mercenary group in the neighboring Central African Republic.

M Invest, one of the companies of Evgueni Prigojine, the de facto manager of Wagner, has even established a Sudanese subsidiary, Meroe Gold, to exploit gold deposits on the border of the Central African Republic, where the group is also engaged in this type of ‘activities. The October 2021 coup enabled the Wagner group to relaunch its mining operations in Sudan, in relation to the Central African Republic, where Russian mercenaries have been accused of having massacred hundreds of civilians last March to consolidate their monopoly, with the survivors fleeing to neighboring Sudan.

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