Fighting between the army and paramilitary forces in Sudan
Sudan’s Sarih Harakat paramilitary force has claimed control of the presidential palace, the military chief’s residence and the international airport in the capital, Khartoum. Three people have been reported dead so far.
Clashes began on Saturday morning between the Sudanese army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces personnel. According to the paramilitary forces, military personnel attacked the Rapid Support Forces camps near Khartoum with light and heavy weapons in the early hours of the morning, after which fighting broke out.
The paramilitary forces known as the RSF have also claimed control of the airfields of Merowi in the north of the country and Al-Ubeid in the west, accusing the country’s army of initiating the attack. However, the army has rejected the RSF’s claims and said that fighting is going on at several places.
On the other hand, the Sudanese army says that there are reports that the country’s air force has also joined the operations against the RSF. In the video footage that surfaced on social media, a warplane can be seen in the skies over Khartoum, however, this video and these claims could not be confirmed by independent sources.
According to the news agency Reuters, the sounds of gunfire can also be heard in several areas of Khartoum, while similar reports are also coming from other cities. There are reports of heavy firing near the military headquarters and RSF headquarters. According to medical sources, these clashes are taking place in residential areas and so far many civilians have been brought to hospitals with injuries.
According to a military statement, the RSF attacked the army at several places, while eyewitnesses said that heavy exchange of fire between the army and the RSF personnel was going on. This has raised fears that the issue could escalate into a full-blown civil war.
It is important to note that the RSF is a paramilitary force consisting of one lakh personnel. The RSF is headed by former militia leader General Muhammad Hamdad Dagalu. He said that first the bad army had surrounded an RSF base and opened fire with heavy weapons.
A number of political parties that recently entered into a power sharing agreement with the army and the RSF have appealed to the two forces for an immediate ceasefire. The Russian and American embassies have also demanded an immediate end to the violence.
Observers say that if the fighting between the army and the RSF drags on, the Sudanese society, which is already divided on tribal lines, may suffer further destruction.
Fighting at Khartoum International Airport
A key point in the fighting is Khartoum’s international airport. The national airline of Saudi Arabia says that one of its A330 planes suffered an ‘accident’, while another plane is also reported to have caught fire.
The Reuters news agency has written with reference to flight tracking data that flights from Saudi Arabia to Sudan have returned instead of landing at Khartoum airport.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blanken and several other leaders have called for an immediate end to the violence in Sudan and the need for dialogue. “We call on all parties to immediately cease violence, refrain from further provocation and resolve their differences through dialogue,” Blanken wrote in a Twitter message.
The head of foreign affairs of the European Union, Joseph Borrell, the head of the African Union Commission, Musa Faqi Mohammed, and the president of the Arab League, Ahmed Abdul Ghaith, have also demanded an immediate ceasefire from the parties. The United Arab Emirates has also appealed to all parties to abandon the path of violence