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SUDANESE ARMED FORCES KILL RSF DARFUR COMMANDER GIBRIL AND BENIN'S CRIET SENTENCES THREE NIGERIENS TO 18 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR ILLEGAL ENTRY

June 13-19, 2024 | Issue 24 - CENTCOM/AFRICOM

Eamon Kobel, Seda Gunes, Meaghan Mackey, Giorgia Cito, Ludovica Leccese

Jessica Wilson, Editor; Brantley Williams, Radhika Ramalinga Venkatachalam, Senior Editor


Meeting of US Africa Command Leaders and Sudanese Military Personnel[1]


Date: June 14, 2024

Location: Al-Fashir, North Darfur, Sudan

Parties involved: Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF); SAF joint forces; Sudanese paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF); RSF Senior Commander Ali Yagoub Gibril; Sudanese rebel group active in Darfur, Sudan Liberation Army (SLA); Sudanese armed opposition group seeking government reform, Justice and Equality Movement (JEM); ethnic militias in Darfur, Zaghawa, Masalit, and Fur; al-Fashir civilians; UN Security Council (UNSC); internally displaced person (IDP) camps

The event: The SAF and its joint forces kill Senior Commander Gibril attempting to break the defenses surrounding al-Fashir.[2] The RSF laid siege to the city in the weeks before the assault and killing of Gibril. Al-Fashir is the only city in the Darfur region that the RSF does not control. The UNSC is calling for an end to the blockade of al-Fashir which has a population of 1.8 million.[3]

Analysis & Implications

  • The RSF will likely seek immediate retribution for the death of Gibril, likely carrying out targeted attacks against SAF and its allies in the region, such as the SLA and the JEM. These attacks by the RSF will likely employ guerilla warfare tactics targeting SAF units surrounding al-Fashir, likely directed at depleting SAF supplies and deteriorating its resolve. There is a roughly even chance that the RSF will intensify its ethnic cleansing campaigns in the Darfur region, likely to stop regional ethnic militias such as Zaghawa, Masalit, and Fur factions supporting the SAF defense of al-Fashir.

  • Increasing violence between the SAF and the RSF will very likely exacerbate the ongoing humanitarian situation within al-Fashir, likely worsening as the RSF continues its siege surrounding the city. Civilians will very likely be caught in the crossfire, likely increasing the strain on IDP camps and medical care facilities. Decreasing medical supplies within al-Fashir will likely cause higher mortality rates. Essential resources such as food and water will very likely continue to diminish, likely increasing the risk of famine and malnutrition for civilians.


Date: June 17, 2024

Location: Benin

Parties involved: Benin’s President Patrice Talon; Benin; Beninese government; Benin's Court for the Repression of Economic Offenses and Terrorism (CRIET); Niger; Nigerien government; West African Oil pipeline, Wapco-Niger; Deputy General Director of Wapco-Niger Moumouni Hadiza Ibra; Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); Chinese oil and gas corporation, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC)

The event: Three of the five Nigeriens arrested at Benin’s Seme-Kpodji port were sentenced to 18 months in prison by Benins CRIET for illegal entry. Niger’s military condemned the arrests as abductions and responded by closing the main oil pipeline that runs to the coast of Benin. The border between Niger and Benin was closed last year due to regional sanctions. Despite Benin reopening its side of the border and making the reopening a condition for loading Nigerian oil from its port, Niger's military rulers have refused to reopen their side of the border.[4]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The Benin’s CRIET decision will likely lead to a breakdown in diplomatic communications and strain bilateral relations between Niger and Benin. Niger will likely respond to the perceived injustice by expelling Beninese diplomats, implementing trade sanctions, or taking other punitive actions. Niger’s response will likely result in regional bodies, such as ECOWAS, attempting to mediate the conflict, likely imposing sanctions or measures to de-escalate tensions.

  • The tense situation between Benin and Niger will likely strengthen hardline nationalist and militaristic factions within both governments, likely leading to aggressive policies and military actions in response to the perceived provocations and threats. Both countries will likely adopt stricter border regulations, likely increasing tariffs on imports and exports to encompass trade. There is a roughly even chance the factions within Benin and Niger will increase military presence along their borders, likely leading to minor incidents and misunderstandings escalating into significant conflicts.

  • The closure of the oil pipeline will very likely result in a halt in oil exports, very likely leading to significant economic and revenue losses for Niger and Benin. This loss in revenue will likely disrupt regional trade networks in West Africa, as neighboring countries will likely face indirect economic consequences such as supply chain delays. The resulting economic instability will likely deter foreign investors such as the CNPC, likely impacting future projects and economic growth prospects for Niger and Benin.


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[1] U.S. Africa Command senior leaders visit Sudan, by U.S. Africa Command, licensed under Public Domain

[2] High-ranking RSF commander killed amidst fierce fighting in El Fasher, Sudan Tribune, June 2024, https://sudantribune.com/article286999m/ 

[3] Sudan's army says it has killed US-sanctioned RSF Darfur commander, Reuters, June 2024, https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/sudans-army-says-theyve-killed-us-sanctioned-rsf-darfur-commander-2024-06-14/

[4] Benin sentences 3 Nigeriens amid diplomatic spat, Voice of America, June 2024, https://www.voanews.com/a/benin-sentences-3-nigeriens-amid-diplomatic-spat/7659614.html 

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