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Sudan: Hemeti 'rejects interference in domestic affairs' by UN envoy

Deputy head of military-led Sovereign Council says Volker Perthes 'should be a facilitator and not a mediator'
Hemeti was once the head of the notorious Janjaweed militias, the 'devils on horseback' accused - along with the Sudanese Armed Forces - of genocide and widespread atrocities in Darfur (AFP)

The deputy head of Sudan's military-led Sovereign Council has said that a UN envoy should be working as a "facilitator and not a mediator", signalling an apparent tougher line towards international efforts to resolve a political crisis.

A United Nations mission led by special envoy Volker Perthes began talks this month to help resolve the standoff which followed a coup by the military last year. 

Previously, the council has welcomed the UN initiative, and Perthes has said the army had no objections to his presence.

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General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemeti, said in a statement: "The head of the United Nations' Integrated Transition Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) should be a facilitator and not a mediator." 

The Council was not shunning the international community but "rejects interference in domestic affairs," he said.

The statement on Saturday by Hemeti, who commands the feared Rapid Support Forces, did not explain what had prompted his comment. Perthes and the Council could not immediately be reached for comment.

Hemeti was once the head of the notorious Janjaweed militias, the "devils on horseback" accused - along with the Sudanese Armed Forces - of genocide and widespread atrocities in Darfur.

A Council committee investigating protester deaths said on Saturday it had collected testimony from witnesses in an anti-coup protest on 17 January in which seven people were killed.