Sudan’s military seemed to have gained an advantage in a violent power struggle with competing paramilitary forces on Sunday by launching air strikes on their bases.
According to a group of doctors, there was a violent confrontation that occurred in Sudan on Saturday between army units who are loyal to General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the leader of the transitional governing Sovereign. Council, and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), led by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, has resulted in the deaths of at least 97 civilians and injured 365 others.
The recent outbreak of violence in Sudan, the first since the collaboration of the army and the paramilitary forces to overthrow long-time autocrat Omar Hassan al-Bashir in 2019, was triggered.
The U.N. mission in Sudan reported that Burhan and Hemedti agreed to a three-hour ceasefire from 4 p.m. time (14:00 GMT by 17:00 GMT) to facilitate humanitarian evacuations. However, the agreement was largely ignored, and the sound of artillery and warplanes echoed in the Kafouri district of Bahri, where the RSF base is located, as night fell.
According to witnesses, the army allegedly restarted conducting air strikes on RSF (Rapid Support Forces) bases in Omdurman, the sister city of Khartoum located across the Nile, and in the Kafouri and Sharg El-Nil areas. Sharg El-Nil areas.
Bahri, causing the RSF fighters to flee.
Many global powers, including the United States, China, Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UN Security Council, the European Union, and the African Union, have urged for a swift resolution to the ongoing hostilities. The situation is causing concerns that it may worsen instability in a region that is already volatile.
On Sunday, neighbouring countries and regional organizations stepped up their efforts to put an end to the violence in Sudan. Egypt offered to mediate, and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, a regional African bloc, plans to send the presidents of Kenya, South Sudan, and Djibouti to reconcile the conflicting Sudanese groups as soon as possible, according to a tweet from Kenyan President William Ruto’s office.
The weekend’s outbreak of fighting was triggered by mounting tensions over the RSF’s integration into the military. Disagreements over the timeline for this process have delayed the signing of a transition agreement to democracy, which has been backed by the international community, following a military coup in 2021.
CLASHES BY KHARTOUM
Statement by the army, clashes were ongoing near military headquarters in central Khartoum. The statement further revealed that the RSF soldiers were placing snipers on buildings, but the army was monitoring and handling the situation.
According to witnesses and residents who spoke to Reuters, earlier on, the army conducted air strikes on RSF barracks and bases in the Khartoum region, causing significant damage to the paramilitaries’ facilities. They further alleged that the army had recaptured a large part of the presidential palace in Khartoum from the RSF. The control over the palace and other crucial locations was being claimed by both the army and the RSF. installations in the city. Heavy artillery and gunfire continued to rage throughout Sunday.
Despite being besieged by the army, RSF members remained inside Khartoum international airport. Witnesses reported that the army was holding back from attacking the airport to avoid inflicting significant damage.
According to witnesses and residents, a significant challenge was the presence of thousands of heavily armed RSF members deployed in neighborhoods in Khartoum and other cities, with no one in authority able to control them.
Residents are reportedly fearful and have not slept for 24 hours due to the noise and shaking of their homes. They are also worried about running out of essential supplies such as water, food, and medicine for their family members.
The situation is further compounded by the spread of false information and the lack of clarity on when and how the conflict will end. The ongoing conflict has the potential to escalate into widespread violence and plunge Sudan into a prolonged state of instability. This is particularly concerning given the country’s already fragile economic situation and ongoing tribal violence, which could derail efforts to move towards democratic elections.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which are wealthy in energy resources, have played a role in shaping events in Sudan. They see the transition from the rule of the toppled dictator Bashir as an opportunity to reduce Islamist influence and enhance stability in the region.
Additionally, these countries have invested in various sectors in Sudan, including agriculture, which has significant potential, and ports along Sudan’s Red Sea coast.
CIVILIAN CASUALTIES SUDAN
Sudanese Doctors’ Union, 97 civilians were killed and 365 injured during the recent fighting between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors had previously reported that at least 56 civilians had been killed and 595 people, including combatants, had been wounded since the fighting began. While scores of military personnel were killed, there is no specific information available about their number.
The United Nations World Food Programme temporarily halted its operations in hunger-stricken areas of Sudan after three Sudanese employees were killed during fighting in North Darfur and a WFP plane was hit during a gun battle at Khartoum airport.
The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the killings and called for accountability, stating on Twitter that “Those responsible should be brought to justice without delay” and that “Humanitarian workers are #NotATarget.”
The U.N. special envoy for Sudan and head of its country mission, Volker Perthes, expressed his shock at reports of shelling and looting affecting U.N. and other humanitarian facilities in Sudan, as per a statement.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan bin Al-Saud, held individual phone conversations with the leaders of Sudan, Burhan and Hemedti, and urged an end to military escalation.
In a speech to an Arab League meeting concerning the crisis on Sunday, Sudan emphasized that its people should be allowed to achieve a resolution internally without external intervention.
The armed forces made clear they would not negotiate with the RSF unless it dissolved. The army instructed soldiers seconded to the RSF to report to nearby army units, which could deplete RSF numbers if they comply. Hemedti, the leader of the RSF and deputy head of state, described military chief Burhan as a “criminal” and a “liar”. Following the entry of the RSF’s forces into the main state broadcaster building in Omdurman and the airing of pro-RSF programming, state television stopped broadcasting in the afternoon, an action reportedly taken to prevent propaganda.