Sudanese Rapid Support Forces (RSF) foiled Thursday an attempt to smuggle large quantities of gold loaded in a foreign helicopter before departing from the Nile River state, forcing it to land in Khartoum.
The RSF’s e-media said their forces are conducting an investigation into the operation, but did not provide information about the company or persons involved.
It said this is part of its role and responsibility to protect the country's economy and “preserve its gains and wealth,” warning from “manipulation of the country’s economy.”
Deputy Commander of the RSF Maj. Gen. Abdul-Rahim Daglu informed a group of “selected journalists” that his forces had taken control of the plane and handed over its load to the Central Bank, sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.
After the secession of southern Sudan and Khartoum’s loss of more than 80 percent of its oil revenues, the Sudanese economy has become dependant on gold.
According to reports, gold mining is one of the main sources of foreign currency in the country, which produces around 100 tons of the metal a year.
Official reports issued in October 2018 by the Sudanese Mineral Resources Company (SMRC) said most of the gold output is estimated to be smuggled abroad, depriving the Bank of Sudan of the foreign currency supply.
Sudan’s production of gold has amounted to 78 tons during the first nine months of 2018, according to a recent official report.
Meanwhile, the state-owned mining company of the overthrown regime said production exceeded its estimates by 12 percent. It also announced a number of campaigns against gold smuggling.
Press reports at the time said security services imposed strict controls that resulted in seizing large quantities of gold during attempts to smuggle them abroad.