He then summoned five barefoot men in dirty clothes and with downcast eyes to the room — a few of the 300 people they said they had arrested. He did not permit questions.
Sudanese news channels, now under strict military control, pump out a stream of such propaganda every day. Protesters, who relied on the internet to mobilize opinion against Mr. al-Bashir, say they have videos and images that document army killings and beatings. But with the internet shut down, they cannot distribute them.
Dr. Sulaima Sharif, head of the Ahfad Trauma Center in Khartoum, said her staff has treated dozens of traumatized women who were beaten or abused by the Support Forces this month. At least 15 said they had been raped, she said, and many more had been beaten on the genitals by stick-wielding soldiers while in military detention.
The true number of rape victims is likely much higher, she added, because of stigma and cultural sensitivities.
General Hamdan’s dominance of Khartoum has stoked resentment and anger inside the regular army, where some officers view him as an impudent upstart.
Those tensions exploded into the open on Thursday, when a spokesman for the Transitional Military Council said it had foiled an apparent takeover plot led by army officers this past week. But dislodging General Hamdan would be difficult, requiring the army to start a civil war on the streets of Khartoum, said a Western official in Khartoum who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the military situation. That seems unlikely for now, he said.
At the top ranks, generals of all stripes are joined by powerful, shared economic interests.
Under Mr. al-Bashir, General Hamdan and the army generals became business tycoons who cornered entire sections of the economy, said Suliman Baldo of the Enough Project, which seeks to end atrocities in African conflict zones.
“This is not just about power; it’s about money,” he said. “Army commanders and Hemeti are up to their necks in corrupt proceeds — that’s why they have zero tolerance for civilian rule in Sudan.”