Sudan’s armed forces have ordered an investigation into a video that purportedly shows some of its troops carrying the severed heads of members of the rival paramilitary faction in the country’s civil war, the military said Friday.

The military released a statement that denounced the “shocking content” of the video, which has recently gone viral on social media platforms in Sudan, and vowed to hold its troops accountable if they were proven to be the perpetrators.

The video shows a group of men in military uniform carrying two severed heads believed to be of members of the Rapid Support Forces paramilitary group. The men seemingly rejoice and chant “God is Great!” and “You brought it onto yourselves.”

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Sudan plunged into chaos last April when clashes erupted in the capital Khartoum, between the Sudanese military, led by Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan, and the RSF, commanded by Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo.

The violence soon spread to different parts of the East African country, killing at least 12,000 people and forcing 1.5 million refugees to flee into neighboring countries.

Sudan's president, Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan

Sudan’s president, Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan, speaks during the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, New York, on Sept. 21, 2023. His military denounced the content of a viral video appearing to show its troops carrying the severed heads of members of the rival paramilitary faction. An investigation into the video has been ordered. (Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The graphic video has elicited a stir among Sudan’s pro-democracy activists and politicians.

“Putting the heads of war victims on display- whether military or civilian victims- reflects moral, political and religious bankruptcy,” Yassir Arman, a member of an umbrella group of pro-democracy factions wrote on Friday on X, the social platform formerly known as Twitter.

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For nearly 10 months, regional partners in Africa have been trying to mediate an end to the conflict, along with Saudi Arabia and the United States, which facilitated several rounds of unsuccessful, indirect talks between the warring parties.

Burhan and Dagalo are yet to meet in person since the conflict began.

“This crime takes the war to another level that cannot be contained,” Khaled Omar Youssef, Vice-Chairman of the Sudanese Congress Party wrote on X in reference to the video.

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