Tensions over a proposed transition to civilian rule in Sudan have led to a power struggle between the country’s army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). In the capital, Khartoum, residents dodged gunfire as rival forces battled over the presidential palace, state TV and army headquarters. Three UN workers were shot after the two sides exchanged gunfire at a military base. Violence was also reported elsewhere in the country, including in cities in the Darfur region. At least 25 people have been killed and 183 injured in the violence, the Sudanese Doctors’ Union has said. The UK, the US and the EU have all called for an immediate end to the fighting.
Residents of Khartoum have spoken of their panic and fear as the two sides fought for control of key sites. “Shooting is still ongoing and people are staying indoors – there is so much panic and fear,” one witness told the BBC. Saudia and EgyptAir have suspended flights to Khartoum and neighbouring Chad has closed its border with Sudan. The RSF has claimed control of at least three airports, the army chief’s residence and the presidential palace, but the army has denied this. There are also reports of clashes at the state TV station, which eyewitnesses say is now controlled by the RSF.
The violence has been described as a power struggle between Sudan’s army and the RSF, with both sides claiming control of key sites in Khartoum. The army has said that RSF fighters have been attacking army camps and trying to seize the military headquarters. “Clashes are ongoing and the army is carrying out its duty to safeguard the country,” army spokesman Brig Gen Nabil Abdallah said. The RSF is commanded by Sudan’s deputy leader, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who has said his troops will keep fighting until all army bases are captured. In response, Sudan’s armed forces have ruled out negotiations “until the dissolution of the paramilitary RSF”.
The US Ambassador to Sudan, John Godfrey, has called for an end to the fighting. He said he was “sheltering in place with the embassy team, as Sudanese throughout Khartoum and elsewhere are doing”. Russia’s embassy was also concerned by the “escalation of violence” and urged a ceasefire, according to Reuters. The UN’s secretary general has spoken to Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Gen Dagalo, urging them to end the violence.