CAIRO (AP) — Sudan’s military chief has ordered the freezing of all bank accounts belonging to a rival paramilitary force. The two sides have battled for weeks across Sudan, pushing the troubled country to the brink of all-out war.
The decree, issued on Sunday by Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan, will target the official accounts of the Rapid Support Forces in Sudanese bank, as well as the accounts of all companies belonging to the group, the state news agency SUNA reported.
It remains unclear what immediate effect the freezing would have on the RSF and how Burhan’s orders are to be enforced.
The military chief also announced the replacement of the governor of Sudan’s Central Bank, a move likely tied to the freezing decree. Over the past decade, the RSF amassed great wealth through the gradual acquisition of Sudanese financial institutions and gold reserves.
Since mid-April, the Sudanese army, led by Burhan, and the RSF, commanded by Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, have been locked in a power struggle that has forced thousands to flee to neighboring countries.
Chaos has taken over much of the country since the conflict broke out. The capital, Khartoum, has been reduced to an urban battlefield and the western Darfur region is rocked by deadly tribal clashes. The violence has also killed over 600 people, including civilians, according to the WHO.
Human rights organizations have accused the RSF of mass looting and attacking civilians, and the military of indiscriminately bombing residential areas. The two side agreed to several short cease-fires since the fighting started, but all were violated. Both have also traded blame and exchanged heated accusations of human rights abuses.
Last Thursday, the military and the RSF signed a pact in the Saudi city of Jeddah, promising safe passage for civilians fleeing the conflict and protection for humanitarian operations in the East African nation. International efforts — led by Saudi Arabia and the United States — are underway in an attempt to turn Thursday’s agreement into a lasting truce.