Concerns about civil war: power struggle in Sudan: heavy fighting between army and paramilitaries

In Sudan, a power struggle between the army and a key paramilitary group has erupted in several parts of the country.

Concerns about civil war: power struggle in Sudan: heavy fighting between army and paramilitaries

In Sudan, a power struggle between the army and a key paramilitary group has erupted in several parts of the country. In the capital, Khartoum, sustained gunfire and explosions could be heard in several neighborhoods since Saturday morning, including at the airport and near the presidential palace in the north of the city. There also seemed to be fighting in the south of the city. There is the headquarters of the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which was supposed to be integrated into the state military. At least three people were killed in Khartoum. According to media reports, fighting also broke out in the states of White Nile and North Darfur.

The RSF said Sudanese soldiers entered their headquarters on Saturday morning. According to reports and eyewitnesses, RSF forces attacked Khartoum airport. The RSF initially reported that they had taken control of the presidential palace and the airport. However, the Sudanese army contradicted this on Twitter. The information provided by both sides could not initially be independently confirmed. The Luftwaffe attacked RSF bases. According to eyewitnesses, at least two tanks were deployed in Khartoum.

Since the fall of long-term ruler Omar al-Bashir in April 2019, the military led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has held power in the country. The army and RSF under leader Mohammed Hamdan Daglo had jointly taken power again in autumn 2021, but tensions between the two military leaders have increased in recent months. The dispute is delaying the transition to a civilian government promised by ruler al-Burhan. In the event of an escalation, violent clashes were feared that could lead to a civil war.

US Ambassador to Sudan John Godfrey confirmed on Twitter that gunfire and fighting could be heard in Khartoum. He warned that escalating tensions between military units was "extremely dangerous". The embassy called on its staff and US citizens in Sudan not to leave their homes.

The United Nations Special Envoy in Sudan, Volker Perthes, called for an immediate cessation of hostilities. Both sides must ensure the safety of the Sudanese people and refrain from further violence. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell also called for an immediate end to the violence. "An escalation will only worsen the situation," he warned on Twitter. The safety of the citizens is the top priority. Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani also called for dialogue and an end to the violence. He follows the events closely, he wrote on Twitter.

Only on Thursday did the Sudanese army warn against mobilizing the RSF. Observers saw the mobilization as a threatening gesture against the rulers and supreme commander al-Burhan. Most recently, Daglo surprisingly spoke out in favor of a rapid transition to a civilian government, thereby opposing al-Burhan.

According to the original plans, al-Burhan should have withdrawn from the interim government by 2021 at the latest, leaving the country to be run by civilians. Instead, the military seized power again and postponed democratic elections indefinitely. This week, the military postponed the appointment of a new prime minister and again delayed the transfer of power. Around 46 million people live in the north-east African country.

NEXT NEWS