The ongoing clashes between Sudan’s army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have resulted in the death of at least 100 civilians, as the intensity of gunfire and explosions increased on Monday. This deadly power struggle is between the country’s two most powerful generals, army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who is Sudan’s de facto leader, and Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who is the commander of the RSF. The situation has raised concerns over the possibility of a wider conflict in the region.
The root of this issue stems from the disagreement over how the RSF will be integrated into the military and who will have ultimate control over fighters and weapons. This is a part of the plan to restore civilian rule, but the two generals are fighting over it. It is important to note that 18 months earlier, they both jointly orchestrated a military coup to derail Sudan’s transition to democracy.
Residents reported hearing airstrikes, artillery fire, and shooting that damaged hospitals, cut off basic services and enveloped Khartoum in smoke. On Monday, both sides claimed to have made gains in the battle for Khartoum. Students and staff at Khartoum University remained trapped in the engineering college library while fighting continued near the main military headquarters in the capital.
The United Nations Security Council has condemned the outbreak of fighting, and its Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, strongly urged the leaders of the Sudanese Armed Forces and the RSF to cease hostilities, restore calm, and begin a dialogue to resolve the crisis.
The African Union and Arab States have also called for an end to hostilities. Unfortunately, neither side has shown any willingness to compromise, even as diplomatic efforts to end the fighting intensify.
The army has taken control of state television and broadcasted images and statements claiming to have regained ground in many places. Since Saturday, Sudanese in the capital have been barricading themselves in their homes, waiting for electricity, running water, and peace to return to the city.