The British government has imposed sanctions on six businesses linked to military groups fighting in Sudan, following the lead of the United States. The sanctions target three businesses connected to the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and three to the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
The measures are designed to cut funding to the two sides and allow the parties to engage in a peace process, as well as facilitate access to humanitarian aid.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been providing arms to both the Rapid Support Force (RSF) and the Sudanese Army. This has raised concerns over the UAE’s role in the conflict and its impact on the region’s stability.
One of the businesses targeted is Tradive, which is based in the United Arab Emirates and is controlled by Algoney Hamdan Dagalo, the younger brother of RSF leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who is better known as Hemeti.
The US Treasury described Tradive as “a procurement company that has purchased vehicles for the RSF in the past”. Some of these vehicles have been “retrofitted with machine guns” for use by the paramilitary force.
The other businesses targeted are:
- Defence Industries Systems (DIS), manufactures a range of small arms, conventional weapons, ammunition and military vehicles for the SAF.
- Sudan Master Technology, which provides engineering and technical services to the SAF.
- Zadna International Company for Investment Ltd, a unit of DIS that provides financial services to the SAF.
The sanctions will freeze the assets of these businesses and prohibit British citizens and entities from doing business with them.
The British government said the measures were “a clear signal to those who are profiting from the conflict in Sudan that their actions will not be tolerated”. The sanctions follow a similar move by the US in June, which targeted four commercial operations linked to the SAF and the RSF.
The UAE has been supplying arms to both the RSF and the Sudanese Army since 2014. These weapons reportedly include small arms, ammunition, and armoured vehicles. The UAE has also reportedly trained members of the RSF in the use of these weapons.
Weapons supplied to both sides include Zastava-produced M05 rifles, Nimr Ajbans armoured vehicles (for the RSF), and Calidus MCAV (for the Sudanese Army), Also, On Tuesday, footage emerged of thermobaric shells apparently supplied by the United Arab Emirates to the RSF and captured by the military. Video showing crates of the 120mm thermobaric airdrop shells with markings suggesting they were manufactured in Serbia in 2020 and later supplied to the UAE.
The UAE’s support for the RSF and the Sudanese Army has drawn criticism from human rights organizations and other groups, who have accused the UAE of contributing to the conflict and the human rights abuses committed by these forces. The UAE has defended its actions, stating that it is committed to maintaining peace and stability in the region.
Likewise, Russia’s Wagner Group, a private military contractor, has been involved in supplying surface-to-air missiles to Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) to combat the Sudanese army, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has brought to light a concerning development in Sudan’s ongoing conflict.
The US Treasury Department on sanctioned Ivan Alexandrovich Maslov, the leader of the Wagner Group in Mali, for collaborating with the Russian paramilitary group to disrupt the stability of several African countries. However, Yevgeny Prigozhin Wagner’s leader in April denied the accusations severally saying they do not operate in Sudan. The denial comes in response to reports by Western diplomats in Khartoum in March 2022 that the company was involved in illicit gold mining in Sudan and other activities.
Sudan’s RSF has also denied the reports of the Wagner Group’s involvement in the country. The government has stated that it is committed to maintaining peace and stability in the country and has called for an investigation into the reports.
The conflict in Sudan began in April 2019, when pro-democracy protests forced President Omar al-Bashir to step down. The SAF and the RSF have been fighting for control of the country since then.
The sanctions are a further attempt to pressure the two sides to reach a peace agreement. So far, the talks have been unsuccessful, but the British government said it was “hopeful that these measures will help to bring an end to the conflict”.
Impact of the Sanctions
The sanctions are likely to have a significant impact on the businesses targeted. They will be unable to do business with British citizens or entities, and their assets will be frozen. This will make it difficult for them to operate and could lead to their collapse.
The sanctions are also likely to have a political impact. They will put pressure on the SAF and the RSF to reach a peace agreement, as they will no longer be able to rely on the support of British businesses.
The sanctions are a significant step by the British government. They show that the UK is committed to ending the conflict in Sudan and promoting peace and stability in the country.
This June, Sudan’s military initiated a forceful offensive against the paramilitary Rapid Support Force (RSF). The offensive aims to retake key areas that were under the control of the RSF, a powerful and controversial paramilitary group in the country. With massive artillery strikes and air raids targeting strategic RSF installations and troop clusters, the military’s actions mark a crucial turning point in Sudan’s ongoing political landscape.