Fighting Breaks Out In Sudan’s Capital
Civilians have been killed and wounded in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, as clashes broke out between the army, led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces. Deutsche Welle reports that the fighting appeared to be the result of an attempted coup.
The RSF said its units took control of the presidential palace and Khartoum’s international airport, along with another airport and military base north of the capital, but the military denied the claims, saying in a statement it had gained control over RSF leadership “without resistance” and had struck RSF bases, chasing after paramilitary units.
Previously, the Armed Forces (SAF) have issued a statement denouncing theincreased deployment of the Rapid Support Forces in Khartoum and northern Sudan. The army command reacted to the deployment in the past few days of a large number of RSF paramilitaries, “without SAF approval” inside the country’s capital and the town of Merowe in Northern State, about 200 kilometres north of Khartoum.
“Preserving and maintaining the security and safety of the country is the constitutional and legal responsibility of the army, with the assistance of the various state institutions,” the spokesperson for the SAF General Command said in a statement issued at dawn today.
A dialogue conference on security and military reform in Khartoum concluded on March 28 without reaching a clear agreement on the subject. Military leaders from both parties refrained from attending the closing ceremony.
On April 1, the civilian signatories of the Framework Agreement decided to postpone the signing of the Final Agreement for five days to give the junta members extra days to resolve their differences over the reforms. Yet April 6 passed without witnessing a signing ceremony.
The RSF grew out of, and is primarily composed of, the Janjaweed militias which fought on behalf of the Sudanese government during the War in Darfur, killing and raping civilians and burning their houses. The RSF’s actions in Darfur qualify as crimes against humanity according to Human Rights Watch.
The RSF are administered by the National Intelligence and Security Service, although during military operations they are commanded by the Sudanese Armed Forces.