Army and RSF fight over important sites in Sudan, leaving 56 people dead.

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At Khartoum’s airport, smoke rises above the buildings. Image: GETTY IMAGE

Sudan is in turmoil as a fierce battle for power unfolds between the country’s army and a notorious paramilitary force, resulting in a tragic loss of life with over 50 civilians reported dead.

The capital city of Khartoum is gripped by violence as gunfire echoes through the streets and rival forces clash over control of the presidential palace, state TV, and army headquarters.

The tense situation has resulted in a tragic loss of life, with 25 people, including 17 civilians, reported dead by a doctors’ organization.

The clashes erupted due to escalating tensions over a proposed transition to civilian rule in Sudan. Both the army and its opponents, the notorious Rapid Support Forces (RSF), are vying for power and claiming control over key sites in Khartoum, including the airport.

The fighting has persisted overnight, leaving the city’s residents in fear and uncertainty as the power struggle intensifies.

The violence in Sudan has spread beyond Khartoum, with heavy artillery being heard in Omdurman and nearby Bahri in the early hours of Sunday morning. Eyewitnesses have also reported gunfire in the Red Sea city of Port Sudan.

The army has claimed that its jets are targeting RSF bases, and the country’s air force has issued a warning for people to remain in their homes while conducting aerial surveys of paramilitary activity on Saturday night.

Residents in Khartoum are living in a state of panic and fear, as bullets are fired indiscriminately, with one eyewitness recounting bullets hitting the house next door, according to reports received.

The situation remains volatile and tense, with civilians caught in the crossfire of the power struggle between the army and the RSF.

The death toll in Sudan continues to rise, with at least 56 civilians killed in cities and regions across the country, as reported by a Sudanese doctors’ committee.

Additionally, several military personnel have been reported dead, some of whom had been treated in hospitals. The total number of injured individuals has reached at least 595, according to the same source.

Tragically, three employees of the World Food Programme (WFP), a United Nations body that delivers food assistance to vulnerable communities, lost their lives in the violence.

The incident occurred when the RSF and armed forces clashed at a military base in Kabkabiya, located in the western part of the country.

The power struggle in Sudan is primarily between army units loyal to Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who is the de facto leader since the coup in October 2021, and the RSF, commanded by Sudan’s deputy leader, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti.

The fighting between these factions has resulted in significant casualties and is causing widespread concern and unrest among civilians in Sudan.

Amid the escalating violence in Sudan, Hemedti, the commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), has declared that his troops will continue to fight until all army bases are captured.

This statement indicates the RSF’s determination to assert their authority and control over key military installations.

In response, Sudan’s armed forces have rejected any negotiations unless the RSF is dissolved.

This stance underscores the deep-seated tension and animosity between the two factions, with the armed forces insisting on the dismantling of the RSF as a precondition for any potential talks or resolution.

The uncompromising positions taken by both sides further fuel the power struggle and heighten the uncertainty and instability in Sudan, as the country grapples with the dire consequences of the ongoing conflict on civilian lives and livelihoods.

The situation remains fluid and continues to pose significant challenges for finding a peaceful resolution.

‘So much anxiety and fear.’

People carry belongings in Khartoum on Sunday. IMAGE: GETTY IMAGES

In Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, scenes of chaos and fear unfolded as people were seen running and taking cover while black smoke billowed over the city.

A Reuters journalist reported sightings of armored vehicles in the streets, and videos showed a civilian plane on fire at Khartoum airport. Saudi airline Saudia confirmed that one of its Airbus planes came under fire.

As a result, several airlines have suspended flights to Khartoum, and neighboring Chad has closed its border with Sudan.

The situation has left residents without electricity, as reported by a British-Sudanese doctor who is visiting relatives in Khartoum. With the sweltering heat, they are unable to open windows due to the deafening noise of the ongoing clashes.

Panic and fear grip the city, with people staying indoors to avoid the violence. Many residents were caught off guard by the sudden eruption of clashes, with bridges and roads closed, and schools in lockdown.

Duaa Tariq, speaking to the reporter, recounted how she sought shelter as a military plane flew over her building, and live ammunition was fired at the roof of the house next door.

The deteriorating security situation in Khartoum and its impact on the daily lives of civilians is a cause for grave concern, highlighting the urgent need for a peaceful resolution to the ongoing power struggle in Sudan.

Khartoum has seen violent fighting that has extended throughout the city. Image: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

As the situation in Sudan continues to escalate, the international community has called for an immediate end to the fighting. The UK, the US, the EU, China, and Russia have all issued statements urging for a cessation of hostilities.

The UN’s Secretary-General has personally reached out to General Burhan and General Dagalo, appealing for an end to the violence.

The US Ambassador to Sudan, John Godfrey, has shared his deep concern, stating that he and the embassy team are currently sheltering in place due to the sounds of gunfire and fighting.

Reports indicate that the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have claimed control of multiple key locations, including airports, the army chief’s residence, and the presidential palace.

However, General Burhan has denied these claims in an interview with al-Jazeera.

Eyewitnesses have also reported clashes at the state TV station, with some stating that it is now under the control of the RSF. The situation remains fluid and highly volatile, with ongoing uncertainty and instability in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, and other areas of the country.

The international community continues to emphasize the need for a peaceful resolution to the conflict and an end to the violence.

The situation in Sudan remains fluid and complex, with conflicting reports of attacks and clashes between the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the Sudanese army.

The RSF had earlier claimed that one of its camps in the south of Khartoum had been attacked, while the army has stated that RSF fighters have been attacking army camps and attempting to seize the military headquarters.

Reuters has reported eyewitness accounts of airstrikes by the army on an RSF base in the north-west of Khartoum.

There are also reports of gunfire in the northern city of Merowe, and the RSF has released a video claiming to show Egyptian troops who had “surrendered” to them in Merowe.

The Egyptian military has stated that its soldiers were in Sudan to conduct joint exercises with their Sudanese counterparts and that they are coordinating with Sudanese authorities to ensure the safety of their personnel.

The situation is highly volatile, with ongoing clashes and tensions between different factions within Sudan’s security forces.

The international community continues to call for a peaceful resolution to the conflict and an end to the violence to protect the safety and well-being of civilians in Sudan.

General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo heads the Rapid Support Forces. Image: REUTERS.

The Sovereign Council, which is currently governing Sudan, is led by General Burhan as its president and Hemedti as its vice-president.

However, the proposed move towards a civilian-led government in Sudan has faced challenges, particularly in integrating the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) into the army.

The RSF, led by Hemedti, has sought to delay the integration for 10 years, while the army has insisted on a two-year timeline.

Hemedti has been a prominent figure in the conflict in Darfur that started in 2003 and has resulted in significant loss of life.

Western powers and regional leaders have called for de-escalation of tensions and a return to talks aimed at restoring civilian rule in Sudan.

In 2021, a coup ended a period of over two years when military and civilian leaders shared power in Sudan, following the overthrow of long-term authoritarian President Omar al-Bashir.

Since the coup, there have been regular pro-democracy protests in Khartoum, reflecting the ongoing desire of many Sudanese for civilian-led governance and democratic reforms.

The situation in Sudan remains fluid and continues to evolve, with efforts and calls for peaceful resolution and restoration of civilian rule.


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