Sudan military chief Yasir Alatta dares Kenya's Ruto to intervene in Khartoum conflict

Monday July 24 2023
 Yasir Alatta

General Yasir Alatta, the Assistant Commander-in-Chief of the Sudan Armed Forces .

By Fred Oluoch

A Sudanese military officer has dared Kenya to intervene in the conflict in the country in the latest sign Khartoum is still uncomfortable with President William Ruto’s mediation role.

General Yasir Alatta, the Assistant Commander-in-Chief of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), in an address to the media on Sunday, accused President Ruto of “being a mercenary for another country”—which he did not name. Nairobi has denied taking sides in the conflict.

Read: President Ruto calls for talks in troubled Sudan

Gen Alatta maintained that Sudan was still opposed to the proposal by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) for the deployment of an East African standby force to protect civilians and aid workers.

Instead, Khartoum says any of the Igad offers can only be considered once President Ruto is replaced as the chairman of the quartet comprising the leaders of Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Djibouti.

The deputy commander-in-chief, while inspecting a special Engineering Division in Khartoum, claimed that the unnamed country that supports President Ruto is also a major backer of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led by Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.


Since the June 15 Igad summit in Addis Ababa, Khartoum has consistently rejected Kenyan leadership’s intervention, accusing President Ruto of bias— ostensibly due to alleged past business links with Lt-Gen Daglo.

But on July 15, Mr Ruto spoke with the Sudan junta leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan by phone to persuade him to cooperate with the Igad quartet which the Kenyan leader leads, and consider a ceasefire that would allow humanitarian agencies to reach the more than 2.5 million people displaced internally by the conflict that started on April 15.  

The Igad chair also proposed that parallel mediation talks under the Jeddah Initiative fronted by the US and Saudi Arabia should work hand-in-hand with Igad to avoid duplicity.

Lt-Gen al-Burhan told President Ruto that he is ready to halt hostilities on condition that RSF soldiers are removed from Khartoum.

Read: Ruto calls for ceasefire between leaders in troubled Sudan

In June, Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs released a statement saying that the country is neutral in the Sudan conflict following Sudan’s protests over the Kenyan leadership.

“As we have always stated, Kenya’s only interest in Sudan is regional peace. We remain a neutral arbitrator on matters of peace for our neighbours as a precursor to the much sought-after development,” the statement.

SAF has also issued statements accusing an unnamed Gulf country of supporting the RSF.