Sudan’s Army Is Losing the Public Relations War—and the Real One

Sudan’s Army Is Losing the Public Relations War—and the Real One
Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, president of the Transitional Sovereign Council of Sudan, addresses the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, in New York, Sept. 21, 2023 (AP photo by Craig Ruttle).

On Oct. 26th, the Sudanese city of Nyala fell to the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, or RSF, which have been fighting a civil war against the Sudanese armed forces since April. Nyala is not only Sudan’s second-largest city. It is also the country’s gateway to the Central African Republic, through which the RSF—led by Mohammad Hamdan Dagalo, or Hemedti—has reportedly been receiving weapons from the Russian private military company Wagner Group, as well as fighters drawn to Sudan for promises of loot.

Under the command of Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, the Sudanese armed forces have now lost control of Sudan’s two biggest cities—the capital, Khartoum, and now Nyala. Nevertheless, the military continues to project strength in its public messaging, refusing to acknowledge any setbacks in its declarations.

Indeed, since the war first broke out in April, the Sudanese armed forces, or SAF, have been feeding the public a false sense of hope. And when its messaging has not been misleading, it has been confused. In contrast, the RSF has engaged in a consistent and effective campaign in its own efforts to shape world opinion, selling the narrative that its forces are waging a righteous crusade on behalf of the very Sudanese population it terrorizes.

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