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US announces first round of sanctions in Sudan

White House sanctions two arms companies linked to Sudan's army and two firms controlled by Hemeti's family
US President Joe Biden pictured leaving Washington on 31 May 2023 (Reuters)

The United States has announced its first round of sanctions on Sudan, after the Sudanese army pulled out of ceasefire talks in Jeddah.

Four companies have been sanctioned by the US. Two are connected to the army and two are connected to its enemy, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary.

The White House released a statement on Thursday saying that it was responding to the ongoing violence in Sudan by "levying economic sanctions, imposing visa restrictions against actors who are perpetuating the violence, and releasing an updated 'business advisory' on Sudan."

The US government said that "these measures are intended to hold accountable those responsible for undermining the peace, security, and stability of Sudan".

American sources told Middle East Eye that no individuals had been sanctioned. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the RSF commander commonly known as Hemeti, has not been sanctioned individually, the sources said.

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However, the US does not publish the list of names subject to visa restrictions. “Visa records are confidential under US law; therefore, we cannot discuss the details of individual visa cases," a US State Department spokesperson told MEE.

The four sanctioned entities are Al Junaid and Tradive, which are connected to the RSF; and Sudan Master Technology and the Defence Industries System (DIS), which are connected to the army.

Al Junaid is a Khartoum-based gold trading firm headed by Abdul Rahim Dagalo, Hemeti's brother and deputy. Tradive, based in the UAE, is controlled by one of Hemeti's younger brothers, Algoney Hamdan Dagalo.

The US Treasury said that Al Junaid "operates 11 subsidiaries across multiple economic sectors, including the gold mining industry. Since the RSF’s expropriation of the Jebel Amer gold mine in 2017, gold mining and export has become a vital source of revenue for the Dagalo family and the RSF."  

The Treasury described Tradive as "a procurement company that has purchased vehicles for the RSF in the past". Some of these vehciles have been "retrofitted with machine guns" for use by the paramilitary. 

MEE understands that these sanctions are partly related to the provision of Man-portable Air Defence Systems (Manpads) to the RSF by the Russian paramilitary Wagner Group.

Arms manufacturers

The army-affiliated entities facing US sanctions are Sudan Master Technology and the Defence Industries System (DIS), the largest arms manufacturer in Sudan, which generates "an estimated $2bn in revenue via hundreds of subsidiaries across various sectors of Sudan’s economy".

DIS manufactures a range of small arms, conventional weapons, ammunition, and military vehicles for the SAF, according to the US government. The company "uses a complex system to hide its ownership of these subsidiaries and to obtain favorable letters of credit from the Sudan Central Bank", the US Treasury said. 

Sudan Master Technology is "a major shareholder in three companies involved producing weapons and vehicles for the SAF".

The conflict in Sudan began on the morning of 15 April, when the RSF attacked key army targets, including the official residence of Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the army general and de facto leader of the country.

Sudan army halts ceasefire talks in Saudi Arabia
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Since then, thousands have been killed in fighting that has mostly taken place in the capital Khartoum and in the Darfur region of western Sudan.

Nearly 1.4 million people have been newly displaced since the fighting began.

"The ongoing fighting in Sudan between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces is a tragedy that has already stolen far too many lives - it must end," the White House said in its statement.

Speaking earlier in the day in Oslo, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that both sides in Sudan's conflict had violated their commitments to a ceasefire and warned that Washington was looking at what steps it could take to make its views clear.

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