The Sudanese people continue to suffer as foreign countries seek to take advantage of the ongoing civil war in the country.
On April 22, the New York Times reported on the struggle for foreign interests in Sudan, a country in northeastern Africa where a civil war between the national army and the paramilitary Readiness Support Forces (RSF) is taking place.
Due to the political unrest, 48 Japanese who were in the area also evacuated, and Mr. Naoyuki Kawahara, chairman of the NPO “Rocinantes,” who arrived at Narita Airport on April 29 by a government chartered plane, told the press, “I almost burst into tears when I saw from the plane the beautiful Mt. Sudan, from which many foreigners, including Japanese, have fled, is said to have become a place where the agendas of various countries are at play.
Sudan is the third largest country in Africa with a population of about 47 million. Because it is located in the Nile River basin, the soil is rich and there are abundant underground resources such as oil, rare earths, and gold. Taking advantage of political instability, countries are trying to acquire rights to these resources.
Promised Mining Concessions
One of the countries vying for the rights is Russia.
The U.S. broadcaster CNN reported that Russia is providing weapons such as surface-to-air missiles to the RSF through its neighbor Libya. The commander of the RSF, Tagalo, visited Moscow shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It is said that he promised to give the RSF the right to mine for gold in return for providing arms and military training to Ukrainian officials.
The RSF is said to have relied on a Russian private military company, Wagener. Wagner was originally deployed in African countries such as Libya and Mozambique. It is said to be involved militarily in conflicts between governments and rebel forces. The company has strong ties to Africa.
According to “CNN,” an affiliate of “Wagener” monopolized the refining rights to gold mined in Sudan last summer. Russia is smuggling gold out of Sudan, it said. It’s possible that they are robbing Sudan of its gold and using it to pay for the war in the Ukrainian conflict. Furthermore, Russia is said to be demanding that Sudan provide it with a naval base at a key port in the Red Sea.
Prigogine, the founder of Wagner, denies any military involvement in Sudan. He stated, “No Wagner fighters have been in Sudan for about two years.
Mr. Prigogine also commented, “The U.N. and the West are not involved in Sudan. The UN and the West want Sudanese blood, but we want peace. However, there are reports that there are many Russian weapons in Sudan. Foreign Minister Lavrov also went out of his way to visit Sudan in February of this year.
On April 15, the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed “serious concern” about the deteriorating political situation in Sudan. On the other hand, Russia is providing arms to Sudan and monopolizing its interests in the country. This may be complicating the situation.