At least 56 people have been killed and 595 injured in clashes in Sudan, according to the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors.
Sudanese paramilitary chief Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo claims to have seized most of Khartoum’s official facilities after clashes broke out between his armed group and the country’s armed forces on Saturday.
“The Rapid Support Forces control more than 90 percent of the strategic installations in Khartoum,” Dagalo told Sky News Arabia, referring to his paramilitary group.
The country’s military leader, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, disputed Dagalo’s claims and said the military retained control of government facilities.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, called Burhan a “criminal,” accusing him of instigating Saturday’s fighting that left three civilians dead and dozens wounded.
Armed clashes were reported throughout Khartoum, including at the presidential palace and the headquarters of the capital’s army. Medical sources at a hospital in central Khartoum told CNN on Saturday afternoon that the hospital had received dozens of injured civilians and military personnel in the past few hours.
Among those killed was an Indian citizen working in Sudan who died from a stray bullet on Saturday, the Indian embassy in Khartoum said on Twitter. He identified the man as Albert Augustine, an employee of the Dal Group, and said he contacted his family and medical authorities to “take further action.”
On Saturday, the embassy issued a notice to all Indians to stay at home and take precautions.
The Sudanese military said that the Rapid Support Forces infiltrated Khartoum airport and set fire to civilian aircraft.
“For our esteemed people, the rebel forces continue their cycles of treacherous plots and attacks on our country and its national sovereignty. Since this morning, your army sons have been fighting with their lives for the rights and dignity of our people, ”the statement said in a statement from an official representative of the armed forces.
Dagalo’s meteoric rise to power began when he was the leader of the notorious Janjaweed in Sudan, implicated in human rights ab*ses in the Darfur conflict in the early 2000s. His group also killed at least 118 people during pro-democracy protests in June 2019. after troops opened fire on a peaceful sit-in.
The Sudanese army accused the Rapid Support Forces of a “treacherous plot” against the country and demanded its disbandment.
“There will be no negotiations or dialogue until the Hemedti rebel militia is disbanded,” the Sudanese army said in a statement. He also issued a wanted poster for Dagalo, calling him a “fugitive on the run”.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on the leaders of the SLO and the Sudanese Armed Forces to “cease hostilities immediately” and the UN Security Council issued a statement stressing “the importance of maintaining humanitarian access and ensuring the safety of UN personnel.” ”
The African Union also issued a statement calling on “the political and military parties to find a just political solution to the crisis.”
The Sudanese Army General Command issued a statement urging the civilian population to stay at home as warplanes will carry out sweeps in search of operational support forces.
“The Sudan Air Force will carry out a complete sweep of the presence of the insurgent militia of operational support. The Air Force urges all citizens to stay in their homes and not go out, ”the message says.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the “fragile” situation arose amid negotiations for a civilian-led transition of power to restore civilian rule to the country.
“The major parties in Khartoum reached a very important framework agreement a few weeks ago on how to proceed with the transition to civilian government. And there has been real progress in trying to move forward,” Blinken said at a press conference in Vietnam.
“This is a fragile situation. There are other actors who may hinder this progress. But this is a real opportunity to finally advance the civil transition that we and other countries are trying to support,” added a senior US diplomat.
In a statement Sunday, Blinken said he had spoken with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates the day before about “dangerous” fighting in Sudan that “threatens the safety of Sudanese civilians and undermines efforts to restore the democratic transition in Sudan.”
“We agreed that the parties need to immediately cease hostilities without preconditions,” he said, adding that “the only way forward is to return to negotiations that support the democratic aspirations of the Sudanese people.”
Blinken said he called on General Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman al-Burhan and General Mohamed Hamdan Degalo to take “active measures to reduce tensions and ensure the safety of all civilians.”
The discussions stressed the importance of stopping the military escalation and returning to the framework agreement in a way that guarantees security and stability in Sudan, the report said.
The Khartoum State Security Committee declared a public holiday in the capital late Saturday evening “in order to preserve the lives of citizens and their property.”
The military has been leading Sudan since the 2021 coup led by Burhan and Dagalo. The 2021 coup ended the power-sharing deal following the 2019 ouster of longtime former President Omar al-Bashir.
CNN investigation also found another connection between the two men: their involvement in Russ*a’s exploitation of Sudan’s gold resources to finance its war in Ukra*ne, with Dagalo’s forces also being key recipients of Russ*an training and weap*nry.
But recent negotiations have led to cracks in the alliance between the two warlords. The talks were aimed at integrating the Rapid Support Forces into the country’s armed forces as part of efforts to move towards civilian rule.
Sources in the Sudanese civil movement and sources in the Sudanese military told CNN that major points of contention included the timetable for the merger of forces, the status given to RSF officers in the future hierarchy, and whether RSF forces should be under the command of an army commander. – and not the commander-in-chief of Sudan, which is currently Burhan.
The hostilities, sources told CNN, are the culmination of what both sides see as an existential struggle for dominance, one with Burhan they say seeks support from Sudan’s former Islamist rulers, resurrecting the specter of the days many Sudanese struggled to to leave behind.