Sudanese paramilitaries clash with army in power struggle

by The Insights

Heavy fighting broke out in Sudan as the country’s army clashed with a powerful paramilitary force that claimed to have taken control of the airport and the presidential palace in the capital Khartoum.

Residents said they heard heavy gunfire and tank shelling on Saturday after negotiations between the army, paramilitary and civilian groups broke down over a long-awaited power-sharing deal following a coup in October 2021. The army and paramilitaries confirmed that fighting was ongoing.

The violence is the latest setback in a long-delayed transition to civilian rule after dictator Omar al-Bashir was ousted in 2019 following months of street protests.

The fighting follows days of tension in a power struggle between the army led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who became president after a coup in October 2021, and Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemeti , Sudanese vice-president and commander of the powerful Rapid Support Forces.

People familiar with al-Burhan’s thinking said there was disagreement between the general and Hemeti over the command and integration of the paramilitary force into the army. For its part, the RSF accused the army of having launched a “deep attack with all sorts of heavy and light weapons”.

“I cannot give a time limit to the fights,” Hemeti told Al Jazeera Arabic, adding that “al-Burhan is a criminal.”

In a statement, the military said “episodes of conspiracy and aggression against our country continue by forces rebelling against the state and national sovereignty.”

“Our forces are confronting the enemy, who are pushing their forces from their bases spread throughout the capital, in attempts to control strategic sites” including the palace, the army headquarters and the presidential compound, the statement said. .

The RSF said they were “forced to provide an adequate response” after “the unprovoked attack by the Sudanese armed forces against our camp in Soba this morning”. He had taken control of the palace and airports of Khartoum, Merowe and al-Obeid as well as “several other sites” in an effort to “prevent the spread of violence and ensure peace”, he said. he stated in a statement.

A senior RSF official said Khartoum International Airport was under its control, along with Merowe International Airport, north of the capital.

A non-governmental committee of Sudanese doctors said residents of Khartoum and Merowe heard gunshots and there were “a large number of injured”.

“These events took place in residential neighborhoods, resulting in various injuries and serious cases among citizens,” the committee said.

“It’s a scary situation,” said a civilian activist who took part in the power-sharing negotiations.

US Ambassador to Sudan John Godfrey said “escalating tensions within the military component to lead the fighting is extremely dangerous” and called on “senior military officials” to stop the fighting. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said all members of the US Embassy in Khartoum had been considered and urged “all actors to stop the violence immediately”.

In a statement, the Saudi Foreign Ministry expressed “deep concern” over the violence and called on Sudanese military and political leaders to “prioritize the language of dialogue, restraint and wisdom”. They should focus on concluding talks on the power-sharing deal, the ministry said.

Saudi airline Saudia said it had suspended flights to Sudan after a fight bound for Riyadh came under fire at Khartoum airport and suffered damage.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said it had been following the developments “with deep concern” and called on “all Sudanese parties to exercise the highest level of restraint” and to prioritize the “higher interests of the nation”.

The Egyptian army said it was “closely following events in Sudan in the context of the presence of Egyptian forces carrying out exercises with their Sudanese counterparts” and coordinating with “relevant parties in Sudan to ensure the security of the Egyptian forces”. ”

The United Arab Emirates called for “calm and restraint”, calling for efforts to reach “a national consensus for the formation of a government”.

Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, called on all parties “to find a consensual solution to the crisis created by the October 25 coup and its adverse consequences”, adding that on Saturday, “the things have gone dangerously wrong.”

Hemeti is seen as close to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, while Burhan is seen as aligned with Egypt.

The RSF traces its origins to the Janjawid Mounted Militia, a ragtag force blamed for widespread atrocities in Darfur, which later morphed into an elite personal guard to protect al-Bashir, who did not want power to be concentrated in the armed forces.

Both Sudan and South Sudan are members of the OPEC+ oil producer group and share oil export infrastructure, with all of their combined crude exports originating in the northern country.

While Sudan only produces around 50,000 barrels per day, South Sudan produces 140,000 bpd according to S&P Global Platts. Much of the South’s oil revenue goes to Sudan as transit fees or to repay loans to international oil companies, according to the International Crisis Group.

Additional reporting by Heba Saleh in Cairo, Samer Al-Atrush in Dubai and David Sheppard in London

You may also like

Leave a Comment

About Us

The Insights is a top leading multimedia news magazine curating a variety of topics and providing the latest news and insights.

Editors' Picks


Subscribe my Newsletter for new blog posts, tips & new photos. Let's stay updated!

@2021 – All Right Reserved. Designed and Developed by our team