Returning from his visit in Moscow last week, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo gave an interview to the Sudanese press on March 2, during which he offered his views on Khartoum’s relations with Russia.
According to General Dagalo, Sudan has no problems with Russia on a political level, and the two countries fully share their respective positions both in terms of international and regional African policy in the Horn of Africa.
For this reason, the deputy chairman of the Sovereign Transitional Council added that Sudan considers legitimate Moscow’s ambition to open its own naval base in the Red Sea, implicitly opening up the possibility of a new impetus in the project of granting the Russians the possibility of establishing their own logistical base in Port Sudan.
The Russian proposal for the development of the naval base in Sudan would, according to General Dagalo, be under the attention of the Minister of Defense in Khartoum, and therefore not directly under his supervision and decision-making capacity.
According to the United States, however, General Dagalo’s mission to Moscow had as its main object the discussion on the definition of the agreement for the naval base, whose approval would be, according to Washington, imminent.
An article published by the British newspaper The Telegraph on March 3, however, has accused General Dagalo to represent the element of trust of the Russians in Sudan for the conduct of numerous illegal operations, among which the most important is the illegal export of gold.
Although the official statistics of the country do not show any concrete export of gold toward Russia, says the Telegraph, according to rumors collected by the newspaper through contacts in the local mining industry, about 30 tons of gold would be smuggled every year in Russia thanks to the complicity of the military structure of the Rapid Support Forces, under the command of General Dagalo.
The latter, in return, would have received the assistance of PMC Wagner for the training of their military units and for the delivery of weapons.
No comment on the issue has been made by the president of the Sovereign Council of Transition, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, whose relations with General Dagalo have become increasingly tense in recent weeks.
For some time, in Sudan, there have been rumors of a growing contrast between the President and the Vice President, as well as fears for a possible imminent explosion of these differences at a political level.
The threats that General al Burhan must now face are thus not only those arising from the increasingly incisive action of popular protest, but also those of the ambitions of his Vice President, the protection of the alliances with the rebel militias that agreed to cooperate with the government and, more broadly, the growing instability in Darfur and in many other southern provinces of the country.