Sudan: There is heavy fighting again in Khartoum

Status: 04/16/2023 11:30 pm

For the second day in a row, Sudan Army and RSF paramilitary groups engaged in heavy fighting. Neither side is ready to negotiate. 59 people died in this violence.

Violence between Sudan’s ruling army and the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF) continued to escalate in the early hours of Saturday. According to stable reports, further heavy fighting was reported from the capital Khartoum.

As reported by the dpa news agency citing Sudanese media, the renewed battle for the general command of the Sudanese army in Khartoum must have intensified. On Saturday evening, the RSF announced that the headquarters had been captured, a claim the army denied as false. However, in the morning the army announced that it was “close to victory” despite continued fighting.

Andhra News spoke to Khartoum-based human rights activist Tahani Abbas. He said that there was heavy firing and a battle broke out in the residential areas. In addition to the fight for general command, the fight was concentrated around the international airport and the headquarters of state television. According to AP, fighting was reported from the city of Omdurman, which borders Khartoum, as well as the Darfur region and the city of Merov. However, the information cannot be independently verified.

As reported by Reuters news agency, internet provider MTN has suspended its services – on the instructions of the government. The company based its information on reports from two employees of the group.

At least 59 civilians were killed

Doctors have said that at least 59 civilians have been killed in these clashes so far. Additionally, around 600 people have been injured, including civilians, but also militants from both sides of the conflict. It can be assumed that there will be more casualties on the side of the Army and the RSF. Three World Food Program employees were also killed, according to the UN.

The Foreign Office spoke of “severe armed clashes” and a chaotic situation on Saturday. The ministry called for “stay safe” and “avoid driving movements”.

As a precautionary measure, both Saudi Arabian Airlines and Egyptair, the Egyptian state carrier, temporarily suspended their connections to Sudan.

The World Food Program stops working

According to UN Special Envoy Volker Berthes, three World Food Program staff were killed in the western crisis in Darfur. Humanitarian agencies have come under fire and others have been “looted”. Perthes called on both sides in the conflict for an immediate ceasefire, warning that “civilians and humanitarian workers are not targets”.

The World Food Program has temporarily suspended its operations in the country. Director Cindy McCain said they are committed to helping the Sudanese people who are facing severe food shortages. “But we can’t do our lifesaving work without the protection of our teams and partners.”

An international appeal to stop the violence

There are growing calls around the world for an end to the military conflict in Sudan and a return to diplomatic negotiations.

Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbach, who is currently in Japan for the G7 foreign ministers’ meeting, wrote on Twitter that she was “appalled by the many victims” of the fighting already taking place in Sudan. The Green Party politician warned: “Both sides must stop fighting and stop the bloodshed.”

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In his afternoon prayer, Pope Francis also expressed concern about the fighting in Sudan. “I am close to the Sudanese people who have suffered so much,” the pontiff said. The parties to the conflict must “lay down their weapons” and dialogue must prevail to “return together to the path of peace and reconciliation.”

UN The Security Council called on all parties to the conflict to cease fighting and start negotiations to end the crisis. In addition, humanitarian workers must be given safe access and UN staff must be protected from attacks, the United Nations’ most powerful body demanded in the morning. The statement emphasized the goal of “unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Sudan”.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the parties to the conflict to “immediately cease hostilities, restore calm and begin negotiations to resolve the current crisis.”

Army and RSF reject talks

The appeal was joined by EU foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell, US Defense Secretary Anthony Blinken and the Arab League. Likewise, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates urged the Sudanese army and RSF to return to the negotiating table for a ceasefire.

The African Union Security Council holds an emergency meeting to discuss the situation in Sudan. Egypt and South Sudan have offered to mediate in the escalating conflict, the Egyptian president’s office said.

In a statement on Saturday evening, the human rights organization Human Rights Watch called for the protection of civilians. “International partners have failed to hold the military to account since the coup and need to act immediately and decisively,” said Mohamed Osman, the organization’s Sudan expert.

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Power struggle intensifies

RSF chief Mohammad Hamdan Daghlo told Al Jazeera that his fighters aim to capture all military bases. Militants called for popular uprising against the military government. In an interview with Sky News Arabia, Daghlo demanded that “the criminal Al-Burhan surrender”. The army, for its part, declared Taglo a “wanted criminal” and the RSF “rebel fighters”. According to him, “there will be no negotiations or talks until the group is dissolved”.

Fighting continues in Sudan

Tilo Spanhel, ARD Cairo, 16.4.2023 ยท 13:51 Uhr

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