Sudan’s two rival generals clashes for power reignite fears of civil war
The United Nations, the African Union, the United States and the European Union have called for a ceasefire in Sudan as the capital of Khartoum was bombarded for the past few days in deadly fighting between rival military factions that threatens to derail the nation’s transition from autocracy to civilian rule.
Tensions that have been brewing for weeks between Sudan’s two most powerful generals — the armed forces chief, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, and the head of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group, Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo — have erupted over the weekend into an unprecedented battle for control of the resource-rich nation of more than 46 million people.
A lengthy power struggle raises the risk of the Northeast African country falling into civil war four years after autocrat Omar al-Bashir was toppled in an uprising. Having just a year and a half ago earlier jointly orchestrated a military coup to derail the nation’s transition to democracy, the two generals, each with tens of thousands of troops deployed just in the capital of Khartoum, vowed not to negotiate or cease fire, despite mounting global diplomatic pressure.
Fighting in the deserted streets of Khartoum raged for a third day on Monday after deadly battles between the army and RSF have reportedly left around 100 people dead. Violence erupted after weeks of deepening tensions between both military leaders over the planned integration of Daglo’s RSF into the regular army. The integration was a key element of talks to finalize a deal that would return the country to civilian rule and end the political-economic crisis sparked by the military’s 2021 coup. Created a decade ago, the RSF emerged from the Janjaweed militia that then-president Omar al-Bashir deployed to wipe out non-Arab ethnic minorities in the western Darfur region in 2003, drawing accusations of genocide and war crimes.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and EU High Representative Josep Borrell have all called on Sudan’s warring parties to end the hostilities, restore calm and begin a dialogue to resolve the crisis that would be devastating for the country and the entire region.