Sudan's military leaders say they are united, rumoured differences false - statement

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - The military leaders of Sudan's transitional government said on Wednesday that their forces were united in the country's defense and that rumours of differences were false, in a rare joint statement by the army and the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

The statement, citing the head of Sudan's Sovereign Council General Abdelfattah al-Burhan of the armed forces and his deputy RSF leader General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, said that both forces were working together to preserve the unity of the country and the security of its citizens.

Sudan's prime minister Abdalla Hamdok called for a unified national army on Tuesday in a bid to protect a fragile political transition, amid apparent tensions between the military and the RSF.

Sudanese sources told Reuters that Hamdok is concerned in particular about a widening split between the army and the RSF in recent weeks, and the potential for conflict if it continues.

The prime minister's comments were his most explicit to date in attempting to influence the military partners he has shared power with since the overthrow of former leader Omar al-Bashir in 2019.

"We will never allow any third party to spread rumours and sow discord between the Armed Forces and the RSF," the joint statement quoted Burhan as saying in a briefing.

Bashir gave the RSF official military status, but it remains separate from the armed forces. Sudan's international allies, as well as some internal rebel groups, have pushed for the RSF, which grew out of Darfur's janjaweed militias, to be integrated into the national army.

"Our goal is one and we have a historical responsibility to bring the country to safety. The enemies are waiting for us to antagonize and fight each other," the statement quoted Dagalo, better known by his nickname Hemedti, as saying.

(Reporting by Nayera Abdallah and Nafisa Eltahir in Cairo, Khalid Abdelaziz in Khartoum; Writing by Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Aidan Lewis and Jonathan Oatis)

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