Sudan: Fighting since weekend left 180 dead, 1,800 injured

By Servet Gunerigok

WASHINGTON (AA): More than 180 people have been killed and 1,800 injured in armed clashes between military rivals in Sudan since the weekend, said the UN’s envoy to Sudan on Monday.

“Fighting has been going on almost uninterruptedly. It’s a very fluid situation. So it’s very difficult to say where the balance is shifting to,” Volker Perthes told reporters via teleconference.

The envoy’s death toll figures come hours after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed to Sudan’s warring parties to immediately end the fighting, warning that continued hostilities risk the country’s future as the death toll continues to mount.

Two family members of Sudanese Minerals Minister Mohamed Bashir were killed when rockets hit their home in the capital Khartoum during the clashes.

Three other people were injured, including two bodyguards. Bashir escaped unharmed.

Fighting erupted on Saturday between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces in the capital Khartoum and its surroundings.

While the Rapid Support Forces accused the army of attacking its forces south of Khartoum, the military said the paramilitary force was “spreading lies” and declared it a “rebel” group.

Guterres strongly condemned the ongoing fighting, urging both sides to “immediately cease hostilities, restore calm, and begin a dialogue to resolve the crisis.”

The African Union’s Peace and Security Council warned Sunday against external interference in the crisis in Sudan and demanded the warring parties to “swiftly embrace a peaceful solution and inclusive dialogue.”

The council “strongly rejects any external interference that could complicate the situation in Sudan,” it said in a statement issued after an emergency meeting on Sudan held at the African Union’s headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

The council urged regional countries and other stakeholders to support ongoing efforts to return the country to the transition process towards a constitutional order.

It also demanded the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) to “swiftly embrace a peaceful solution and inclusive dialogue” to resolve their differences.

A disagreement between the army and the RSF regarding military security reform, which envisages “the full participation of the RSF in the army,” had turned into a hot conflict in the last few months.

The dispute between the two sides came to the surface Thursday, when the army said recent movements by the RSF had occurred without coordination and were illegal, with their rift centering around a proposed transition to civilian rule.

Sudan has been without a functioning government since October 2021, when the military dismissed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s transitional government and declared a state of emergency in a move decried by political forces as a “coup.”

Sudan’s transitional period, which started in August 2019, was scheduled to end with elections in early 2024.

[Photo: Smoke rises as clashes continue in the Sudanese capital on April 16, 2023 between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Photojournalist: Mahmoud Hjaj/AA]

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