June 2, 2023

IntelBrief: Could the Conflict in Sudan Attract Significant Numbers of Foreign Fighters and Mercenaries?

AP Photo/Hussein Malla

Bottom Line Up Front

  • Previously an exporter of foreign fighters and mercenaries, Sudan is now at risk of having the opposite directional flow, fighters from abroad traveling to the country to engage in combat on one of the belligerent sides.
  • UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sudan and Head of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) Volker Perthes was recently quoted by Barron’s, speaking about armed “fortune seekers,” or mercenaries, had traveled to Sudan from Mali, Chad, and Niger.
  • Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, chief of the Sudanese armed forces, has accused RSF commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo (“Hemedti”) of recruiting mercenaries from CAR, Chad, and Niger, and it is known that the Wagner Group also has “technical advisers” in Sudan, aligned with the RSF and Hemedti.
  • The longer the fighting lasts, the more likely it becomes that external nations and non-state actors will become even further invested, protecting their own assets in the country and working through proxies to tilt the balance of power.