Paramilitary Group Occupies National Museum During Military Conflict in Sudan

The Sudanese national museum has been occupied by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), one of two military group vying for control of Sudan’s capital city, Khartoum, according to Reuters. 

The RSF, a paramilitary group led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemeti, has been in an armed conflict with General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) since 2019, when the government of Sudan’s long-time dictator, Omar al-Bashir, was toppled.

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After the revolution, the government was been led by a council overseen by Burhan, with Hemeti serving at his right hand. However, since April, the two military leaders have been grappling over who would control the capital.

The museum’s deputy director Ikhlas Abdellatif begged the RSF, which took control of the museum on last Friday, to protect the countless artifacts and items of cultural heritage that are kept safe in the museum, the report said. Staff have not had access to the museum since the conflict began. 

In the days following the museum’s occupation, the RSF released a video claiming they have not harmed any of the artifacts in the museum, which includes statues, pottery, ancient murals, and some of the oldest mummies in the world, and invited those who believe the artifacts are in danger to come check. However, a French archaeological team working in Sudan that has been monitoring the site claims to have seen signs of damage at the museum via satellite.

Despite calls for peace and a cease fire that ran through Saturday, residents of Khartoum say they are under siege as the SAF fire shells and send fighter planes into urban areas and the RSF take to the streets. 

In the six weeks since the conflict began, roughly 1,000 people have been killed and more than 300,000 have fled Sudan fearing a full-blown civil war.


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