At least 56 people have died in an ongoing clash between soldiers and paramilitary officials in Sudan, Aljazeera is reporting
The unrest between the two groups which erupted on Saturday has seen about 595 people, including combatants, wounded according to the Sudanese Doctors Union.
Sudan’s paramilitary chief Mohamed Dagalo claimed to have seized most of Khartoum’s (capital of Sudan) official sites after clashes erupted between his armed group and the country’s military.
“The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) control more than 90 per cent of strategic sites in Khartoum,” CNN quoted Mr Dagalo as saying in an interview with Sky News Arabia.
The country’s military leader, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, disputed the former’s claim saying the military continues to maintain control over government sites.
Until recently, both groups were allies who worked together during a coup in 2021 but have recently developed tension as they negotiate plans to integrate the RSF into the army.
The sounds of gunfire and heavy artillery continue to reverberate across Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, for a second day. Sunday was declared a public holiday by the Khartoum State Security Committee “in order to preserve the lives of citizens and their property.”
According to Aljazeera, the two sides have been competing for power as political factions negotiate to form a transitional government after a 2021 military coup. The tensions stem from a disagreement between the military, headed by leaders of the two groups, about how the paramilitary force should be integrated into the armed forces and what authority should oversee that process.
Sunday’s fierce fighting came as the United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates called for the opposing sides to “immediately end hostilities without precondition”.
World Leaders condemn unrest
World leaders have condemned the violence and called for de-escalation of the situation.
UN Chief Antonio Guterres in a tweet condemned the violence and said he is engaging with the AU and leaders in the region on the matter. He reaffirmed the commitment of the United Nations to support the people of Sudan in their efforts to restore a democratic transition.
According to the UN spokesperson, Mr Guterres has spoken to President Sisi of Egypt and African Union Commission chairperson Moussa Mahamat on how to de-escalate the situation.
“He has also spoken to Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah Al Burhan and RSF Leader Lt. General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, calling for an immediate stop to the violence and a return to dialogue. He offered his good offices, in close coordination with ongoing efforts, to restore security and conclude the ongoing political process,” the spokesperson said in a tweet.
President of Kenya William Ruto said Kenya is concerned about the developing crisis in Sudan. He encouraged parties to address any differences through peaceful means for the sake of the security of the people of Sudan and stability in the country and the region, especially during this Holy month of Ramadan.
“The outbreak of violence will only reverse the gains Sudan has made to the detriment of its lasting peace and prosperity,” he said, adding that Kenya and the IGAD States are available and ready to contribute to the resolution of this crisis.
“I am consulting with the regional leadership and other relevant international partners to seek ways to support dialogue and mediation,” Mr Ruto added.
EU Commission Vice President, Josep Borell, said the EU strongly condemns the eruption of violence between the Sudan Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces.
“We urge all sides to show leadership and engage in an immediate cessation of hostilities,” he tweeted.
He expressed his support for the move by Kenya’s president to convene IGAD member states to contribute to the resolution of the crisis in Sudan. All efforts are welcome to seek ways to support dialogue and mediation. The EU stands ready to support such efforts, he said.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said “fighting between SAF and RSF forces threatens the security and safety of Sudanese civilians and undermines efforts to restore Sudan’s democratic transition. The only way forward is to return to negotiations.”
The African Union Commission (AUC) in a statement said it was following with “deep concern” the developments in Sudan and “encouraged, directly and indirectly, the political parties, civilians, and military to find a consensual solution to the crisis created by the October 25 coup and its harmful consequences.”
The AUC appealed to all parties, the armed forces and the rapid intervention forces, in particular, to immediately stop the destruction of the country, the panic of the population and the bloodbaths of the innocents in the last ten days of Ramadan.
“At this moment of extreme gravity, the Chairperson of the AUC urges all components of the international community to combine, in unity and urgency, their efforts to bring the parties to immediately cease military actions and return to the negotiating table towards an end to the crisis that is satisfactory for all,” the statement said.
The United Arab Emirates urged all parties in Sudan to exercise restraint, de-escalate and work towards ending the crisis through dialogue, according to the WAM state news agency.
The agency said that the UAE Embassy in Khartoum was following “with great concern the developments in Sudan and has reaffirmed the UAE’s position on the importance of de-escalation, and working towards finding a peaceful solution to the crisis between the concerned parties.”
France voiced “deep concern” at the outbreak of fighting in Sudan and called on warring military factions in Khartoum “to do everything to stop” the violence.
“Only the return to an inclusive political process leading to the appointment of a transition government and general elections can settle this crisis for the long term,” the foreign ministry said.
In a statement, the ministry said France was “available, with Sudan’s other partners, to facilitate an end to the crisis and promote a political solution.”
Russia’s embassy in Sudan said it was concerned by an “escalation of violence” in the country and called for a ceasefire and negotiations, the state-owned Russian news agency RIA reported.
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The embassy said the atmosphere in Khartoum was tense but Russian diplomats were safe.
Egypt expressed grave concern over the ongoing clashes in Sudan and called on all parties to exercise restraint, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The Saudi government said it was “deeply concerned” over the escalation and heavy fighting in Sudan. It called on the warring factions to “choose dialogue over conflict.”
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