What is the Baraa Battalion? And why has interest in it increased recently?
Social media users circulated two videos, one of which shows armed members of the battalion besieging a Rapid Support Forces headquarters south of Khartoum a few hours before fighting broke out on the morning of April 15th.
The second video shows battalion elements inside the army general command at the moment of the fighting.
The controversy grew further after army commander Abdel Fattah al-Burhan in late August visited Misbah commander Abu Zeid Talha at the police hospital in the city of Atbara (380 kilometers north of Khartoum), where he was receiving treatment after being wounded in a battle with the RSF.
The visit came hours after Burhan left an army headquarters building in Khartoum.
The videos raised several questions about the army's relationship with the battalion, and the reasons for its presence within the command in the first moments of fighting.
This comes despite the inability of a number of senior army officers to reach the headquarters and dozens of them were captured by the RSF that day.
Katibat al-Baraa is widely believed to be one of the Brotherhood's most prepared, trained, and armed brigades, consisting of youth groups between the ages of 20 and 35.
Most of its members come from the backgrounds of student organizations that used to operate under the umbrella of Student Security and the General Union of Sudanese Students, one of the most important tactical and security arms of the former Brotherhood regime.
Throughout the 30 years of the Brotherhood's rule, which lasted from June 1989 until its overthrow in April 2019, the group's armed brigades, including the Popular and Student Security, the Popular Defense Forces, and other Brotherhood groups, enjoyed high privileges, even at the expense of the armed forces and other security services.
Link with ISIS
According to sources, the battalion has close links with extremist groups supporting the terrorist organization ISIS, including the State of Law Party led by Mohamed Ali al-Jazouli, which is openly loyal to ISIS, although al-Jazouli is being held by the Rapid Support Forces weeks after the outbreak of fighting.
A few days ago, social media users published another video showing the commander of the "Baraa Brigade" lamp Abu Zaid Talha, receiving elements affiliated with the Islamic Movement, and it was remarkable in the clip the appearance of people with foreign features.
The battalion played a prominent role in suppressing the demonstrations that erupted after the October 25, 2021 coup by planting its members inside the Central Reserve Police, which is accused of killing dozens of demonstrators.
It was also reportedly involved in the liquidation of a brigadier general in the Central Reserve Police in January 2022 after he refused to use excessive force against protesters.
From the very beginning of the fighting, Sudanese have been arguing over the role of Brotherhood-affiliated brigades in igniting the war after a number of their commanders publicly threatened a few days before the outbreak and vowed to block any agreement to transfer power to civilians.
A few weeks ago, the RSF leaked videos of both al-Jazouli and Anas Omar, a leader of the National Congress Party and their detainees, acknowledging the involvement of members of the Islamic Movement in coordinating with army leaders to mobilize for the war several days before it broke out.
A senior officer in the armed forces confirmed to Sky News Arabia that the "Baraa Brigade" has great influence over the army leadership, and it manages battles in sensitive locations such as the armored corps and before it the Central Reserve Command, which fell to the Rapid Support.
The officer, who preferred to withhold his name due to the sensitivity of the subject, said that a number of army officers have been warning throughout the past period of the danger of linking the army's name to any armed militias, but these calls were met with great arrogance from Brotherhood political leaders who control the army and security services, such as Ali Karti, Ahmed Haroun and Anas Omar, who is currently detained by the Rapid Support.
The extremist nature of the battalion is causing major technical and field problems for the armed forces' commanders in the areas of operations, leading to major setbacks over the past five months, the officer said.
According to the officer, the battalion currently operates under the umbrella of the so-called Special Action Forces, whose operations are heavily documented by state media as the battalions that fought alongside the army in the southern war that ended with the secession of the south in 2011.
The officer expressed his belief that the official media's focus on the battalion's operations stems from a carefully planned political goal by the Muslim Brotherhood political leaders who are managing the war from afar.
The army chief denied on more than one occasion any Brotherhood participation in the current war.
Disclosure of Brotherhood involvement
However, political analyst Jamil al-Fadil pointed out that as the war prolonged and fluctuated, the reality of the Brotherhood's participation in the war and the impact of the Brotherhood's presence on the army began to become more and more unfold.
Al-Fadel told Sky News Arabia: "The Brotherhood is now more keen to leave their traces and put their fingerprints in the scenes of this war in a deliberate public manner that paves the way for them to reap the fruits of the post-war."
"They want to extract recognition of their direct impact on the war, ensuring that they preserve the gains they gained during their rule that spanned more than three decades as well as a degree of participation in the potential power quota, whether it is a transitional civilian authority or a military coup," he said.
For his part, journalist Wael Mahgoub believes that the policy of alert resorted to by the army and the involvement of militias, battalions and irregular armed groups to fight with it is a policy linked to the scenarios of the Islamic movement and its constant attempts to reshape the scene so that power eventually devolves to it or is in control of it and in any possible political process.
Mahgoub warns of the dangers of Brotherhood battalions participating alongside the army.
He explained to Sky News Arabia: "The problems will appear later when the political current to which these battalions belong seeks to tighten their grip and jump over the armed forces to usually arrange the scene to the same as before the fall of the former regime."
Mahjoub finds no justification for the armed forces to use partisan battalions, pointing out that the army does not call up all its regular units, estimated at 200,<>.
A new old problem
Mahjoub describes the use of partisan battalions as an old and renewed problem that has erased the lines separating the armed forces from the irregular groups that were fighting with him, such as the Popular Defense Brigades, the "tanks" and other groups.
Al-Moez Hazrat, a lawyer and member of the indictment panel in the June 1989 coup case, in which former President Omar al-Bashir and a number of members of the Islamic Movement were being tried, is based on his characterization of the war as a "Brotherhood war" after the visit of Burhan, commander of the "Baraa Brigade", after he left the headquarters at the end of August.
He adds: "The involvement of such battalions confirms that this war has become a militia war between Islamists and the RSF, and the armed forces have nothing to do with this war and this is what justifies their stand against all attempts to stop the war, which they consider their only way to return to power."
Lawyer Rehab Mubarak agrees with Hazrat's view, telling Sky News Arabia: "The appearance of the Baraa Brigade in public confirms that the war aims to return to the Muslim Brotherhood rule again."