Hemedti, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo - Sudan News

When Sudan’s protest leaders signed a preliminary power-sharing agreement with the ruling military council in early July, they had no choice but to shake hands with the man many of them accuse of ordering a massacre just a month earlier. Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, a paramilitary commander from Darfur who is widely known as Hemedti, has emerged as Sudan’s main power broker in the months since the military overthrew President Omar al-Bashir. He boasts tens of thousands of paramilitary forces who have spent years battling insurgents across Sudan as well as rebels in Yemen on behalf of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Experts say he can draw on his family’s vast livestock and gold mining operations in Darfur, as well as funding from Gulf Arab countries, to buy the support of tribal leaders and other local elites. That could be the recipe for a new patronage system like the one that kept al-Bashir in power for three decades. But he also faces considerable headwinds: from the pro-democracy movement that has brought tens of thousands into the streets; from rival tribes and rebel groups that have battled his forces; and from elites in Khartoum, who view the onetime camel trader from distant Darfur as an outsider. This week the protesters and the military announced a new breakthrough in their efforts to form a joint government that would pave the way to civilian rule. But the democratic transition remains fragile, and Hemedti’s rise — along with the growing resistance to…

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