Fetisov Journalism Awards 2020
Category: Outstanding Contribution to Peace
Mohamed Aboelgheit, Nick Donovan, Richard Kent (UK)
Exposing the RSF's Secret Financial Network
December 9, 2019
The original publication is available via the following link: https://www.globalwitness.org/en/campaigns/conflict-minerals/exposing-rsfs-secret-financial-network/
In April 2019, Sudan’s social and political upheaval resulted in the removal of President Omar al-Bashir after nearly 30 years in power. Sudan has now entered a new period, where civilians share power with the Sudanese military in the ruling Sovereignty Council.
A militia named the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) is the most powerful paramilitary force in Sudan. At the head of the RSF – and vice chair of the Sovereignty Council – stands a man named Mohammed ‘Hemedti’ Hamdan Daglo.
Hemedti first rose to prominence in 2003 as one of the leaders of the Janjaweed, a paramilitary force deployed in Darfur which killed scores of civilians.
More recently, numerous witnesses accuse Hemedti’s RSF and Sudanese police of massacring pro-democracy demonstrators at a sit-in in Khartoum on June 3rd, 2019, with human rights groups reporting over 100 people killed. These killings fit a pattern of human rights abuses committed by the RSF and their predecessors, the Janjaweed, in Sudan’s western region of Darfur (see more below). Hemedti has denied the RSF was involved.
Now, an apparently genuine cache of leaked documents obtained by Global Witness show the financial networks behind Hemedti and the RSF. Not only have they captured a large part of the country’s gold industry through a linked company, but the leaked bank data and corporate documents show their use of front companies and banks based in Sudan and the UAE.
Some of the bank and corporate documents were originally published by satirical Sudanese online channel Al Bashoum, while others were obtained by Global Witness in the course of our investigation.