The ongoing civil war in Sudan has not stopped yet. Tension remains even after the ceasefire. Three thousand Indians are also stranded in Sudan. So far more than 200 people have lost their lives. According to many international organizations, these deaths have taken place due to fighting between Sudan’s paramilitary force ‘Rapid Support Force’ ie RSF and the army there. Most of the attacks between the two sides took place in the capital, Khartoum.
The latest conflict follows a long story of multiple incidents, political tensions and conflict. It is also believed that since the fall of Omar al-Bashir’s government in April 2019, the situation in Sudan is critical. It is also being said that the reason for the recent violence is the lack of communication between Sudan’s paramilitary force ‘Rapid Support Force’ ie RSF and the army there. Apart from these reasons, gold is also one of the reasons for the ongoing conflict in Sudan. Let us tell you that Sudan has the largest gold reserves in the entire African continent.
A report by foreign media Aljazeera states that before the year 2019, as long as Al Bashir’s government was in power, Russia The Wagner Group mainly focused on Sudan’s mineral resources, especially gold mining resources. The Wagner Group used to help the Bashir government to protect Sudan’s gold reserves from any international opposition.
The Wagner Group first attracted attention in 2014. During that time this group is remembered as Russian mercenaries in the Russian attack on Crimea. They are also believed to have been involved in the Syrian War, and supported the Russian Armed Forces.
The Wagner Group in Sudan is led by Yevgeny Prigozhin. Prigozhin is also known as Putin’s chef. There were protests in 2019 against al-Bashir and the fall of power. As soon as al-Bashir lost power, Prigozhin tried to join forces with Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. But due to the violence in 2019, instead of improving, the relationship deteriorated.
Let us tell you that Russia’s interests in Sudan do not stop only on gold. Russia is set to sign an agreement with Sudan to build a military base at Port Sudan on the Red Sea. In return, Russia talks about sending weapons and military equipment to Sudan. This gold mine has become strategically important during this conflict.
According to government data, in 2022 alone, Sudan will earn about $2.5 billion by exporting 41.8 tonnes of gold. Was. That is, gold is the most profitable business for Sudan.
At present, these gold mines are under the control of Hemedti ie Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo and RSF militia. Both sell this metal not only to Khartoum government but also to neighboring countries. On the other hand from Russia Prigozhin also keeps on getting the work of gold mining done. It is clear that large scale gold mining is going on in Sudan. The name of Sudan’s gold is Mero Gold.
While the European Union also claims that Wagner Group has the right on Mero Gold. The Wagner Group has acquired these rights through its affiliation with the Sudanese military.
A BBC report suggests that indiscriminate gold mining has taken a toll on the areas around the mines. . The high death toll from mine collapses and the use of mercury and arsenic in the refining have added to the catastrophe.
The role of ‘gold’ in the latest violence
Wagner has recently forged ties with RSF and Commander Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. Its main objective is to create a smuggling route for gold from Sudan to Dubai and then to Russia.
Is Wagner involved in the fighting in Sudan?
< Ashok Swain, Head of the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Sweden's Uppsala University, told Al Jazeera that the Wagner Group could join the current battle to maintain its presence in the country and protect Sudan's business interests for its own benefit.
Russia’s embassy in Sudan said it was concerned by the violence and called for a ceasefire and talks, according to Russia’s state news agency RIA.
< p>Ashok Swain opined that if the conflict escalated into a civil war and threatened Prigozhin’s mining operations, it would lead to military clashes and higher casualties.
Sudan and gold ‘Curse‘
Till 1956, Sudan was a part of British rule. After this the process of integration started which was full of ups and downs. During this time the country came to know about its oil reserves and it became the main financial source. After that in the 1980s, the struggle for independence started in the southern part of the country.
This conflict ended in 2011 with the formation of the Republic of South Sudan. With the formation of South Sudan, two-thirds of the earnings from the export of crude oil went there.
In the year 2012, huge reserves of gold were discovered in the northern part of the country. This gold reserve was enough to improve the country’s economic condition.
A Reuters report tells that during this time thousands of people gathered here to loot gold to try their luck. Some people got gold in their hands, while some people The crushed mines were sunk and killed on the spot. The reason was the release of mercury and arsenic gas while refining gold which proved to be poison for them.
In the year 2021, 31 people were killed in a gold mine collapse in West Kordofan province. In March itself, 14 people lost their lives due to a mine collapse.
Research by the Sudan University of Science and Technology has revealed that the level of mercury in Sudan’s water is 2004 ppm (parts per million) and the level of arsenic is 14.23 ppm. While the acceptable level of mercury in water is 1 ppm and arsenic is 10 ppm.
Professor Al Jili Hamouda Saleh, who teaches environmental law at Khartoum University, told the BBC that large-scale use of mercury and arsenic would certainly bring environmental devastation in the country."
According to Professor Al Jili Hamouda Saleh, " Gold is mined from 40,000 places in the country. There are 60 gold refining companies in 13 provinces of the country, 15 companies in South Kordofan do not follow environmental norms, so nothing is going to change now."
The way did not come out after efforts
In 2019, there was a military coup in Sudan and after the fall of Omar al-Bashir’s government, the country’s power passed into the hands of two prominent figures Hemedti and al-Burhan. Both of them had armed groups.
In December last year, an agreement was reached between the two that the entire gold production would be handed over to the elected government. But slowly Hemedti lost his strength and people close to al-Burhan advised the army to control the activities of the RSF."
Many other forces are also active in the control and stake of gold mines in North Sudan, so these Burhan adopted a broad political path. An attempt was made to negotiate security reforms with Hemedti. In response, Hemedti did not accept a single condition of Burhan. In such a situation, apart from many reasons, gold became the main reason for the latest conflict. Violence broke out last weekend because of Sona.
Who will become Alexander in the battle of gold
A BBC report states that nothing is decided yet. Even if one of the two sides wins, it will be difficult to decide whether this victory is complete or not. Therefore, the number of casualties and enmity on both sides will increase and due to this domestic and international pressure will increase.