At least 27 dead as Sudanese forces clash with rivals

Khartoum – More than 200 Sudanese troops and powerful militias engaged in heavy fighting in the capital and elsewhere on Saturday, striking new blows to hopes for a democratic transition and raising fears of wider conflict. are reported to have suffered casualties.

At least 27 people were killed and more than 180 injured, the country’s doctors said late Saturday. However, the Sudan Doctors Syndicate added that there were countless casualties, including military personnel and his RSF personnel, in towns in western Darfur and northern Merowe.

The clashes capped a month of heightened tensions between the military and rapid-response force groups. Those tensions handle Working with political parties to restore the country to the short-lived democratic transition derailed by the October 2021 military coup.

After a day of heavy fighting, the military refused to negotiate with the RSF, instead calling for the dissolution of what it called the “rebel militia”. The harsh language signaled a likely continuation of the conflict between the former allies who co-engineered the 2021 coup.

Sudan doctors did not immediately release details of where the 27 died, but said at least six died in the capital Khartoum and its sister city Omdurman. At least eight people were killed and 58 injured. It occurred near Nyala, the capital of South Darfur, located in the southwest.

Fighting broke out early Saturday morning. Since the coup, he heard heavy gunfire all day in the capital and nearby areas, where the army and his RSF had amassed tens of thousands of troops.

Witnesses said fighters on both sides opened fire from machine guns mounted on armored vehicles and pickup trucks in populated areas. Several tanks were seen in Khartoum. The military said it launched attacks from planes and drones on his RSF positions in and around the capital.

In a statement late Saturday, the army said its forces had seized all RSF bases in Omdurman, but residents reported heavy air strikes on paramilitary positions in and around the capital that continued into the night. Gunshots and explosions were still being heard in some parts of Khartoum, they said.

The people of Khartoum spoke of chaotic scenes. “Fires and explosions are everywhere. I have never seen fighting like this in Khartoum,” said Amal Mohammed, a doctor at Omdurman’s public hospital, resident Abdel Hamid Mustafa.

One of the flashpoints was Khartoum International Airport. There was no official announcement that the airport had closed, but major airlines have suspended flights.

Saudi Arabia’s national airline said one of its planes was involved in an “accident”. The video showed the plane burning on the tarmac. Another plane also appears to have caught fire. Flight tracking website FlightRadar24 identified it as a Boeing 737 operated by Kiev, Ukraine-based airline SkyUp. Did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sudan doctors said two civilians had died at Khartoum airport. Another man was reportedly shot dead in North Kordofan province. The BBC said one of his reporters was stopped by soldiers, taken to army command and beaten.

Military leaders and the RSF exchanged responsibility for who started Saturday’s fighting and offered conflicting accounts of who was in control of key installations.

General Abdel Fattah BurhanA Sudanese military commander told Qatar-based satellite news network Al Jazeera that RSF forces had first “harassed” forces in southern Khartoum, causing clashes.

Burhan accused the RSF of breaking into Khartoum airport and setting fire to several planes. He also said all strategic facilities, including the military headquarters and the Republican Palace, the presidential office of Sudan, are under his military control. He threatened to deploy more troops to Khartoum.

RSF General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo accused Barhan of encircling RSF forces and starting a battle. “This criminal, he forced us into this fight,” he said.

Dagalo told Al Jazeera that he believed the fighting would end “in the next few days”.

The RSF claimed its forces controlled strategic positions in Khartoum and the northern city of Merowe, about 350 kilometers (215 miles) northwest of the capital. The military dismissed the claim as a “lie.”

The fighting comes after months of heightened tensions between generals and years of political unrest since the 2021 coup. The tension stems from disagreements over how to integrate his RSF, led by D’Agallo, into the military and which authorities should oversee the process. The merger is a key condition of Sudan’s unsigned transition agreement with the political group.

Pro-democracy activists have committed human rights abuses against protesters across the county over the past four years, including the fatal collapse of a protest camp outside Khartoum’s military headquarters in June 2019, which killed more than 120 protesters. I have accused Barhan and Dagalo of having gone. Many groups have repeatedly called for them to be held accountable. The RSF has long been accused of atrocities related to the Darfur conflict.

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Brinken and other top diplomats expressed extreme concern about the outbreak of violence. We urge all parties to continue discussions to resolve the issue.”

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres. European Union’s top diplomat Josep Borrell. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairman of the African Union Commission. Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit. And Qatar all called for a ceasefire and a return to negotiations for both sides.

Former Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, who was ousted in a 2021 coup, has warned of possible regional conflict if fighting escalates. He said in a video appeal to both sides.

Cameron Hudson, a senior associate at the think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former U.S. diplomat, said the fighting could be escalating and protracted, urging the U.S. to form a coalition of regional powers to guide them. asked to put pressure on The military and his RSF moderate the escalation.

Volker Perthes, Sudan’s special envoy to the United Nations, and Ali bin Hassan Jafar, Saudi ambassador to Sudan, said they had been in touch with Dagalo and Barhan to try to end the violence, asking anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. said a United Nations official who called for

Chad has announced that it will close its border with Sudan.

Clashes have also occurred in other parts of the country, including the northern states, the conflict-torn Darfur region and the strategic coastal city of Port Sudan on the Red Sea, military officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Allowed. ___ Associated Press writers Sammy Magdy (Cairo) and John Gambrel (UAE) contributed to this report.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/world/2023/04/15/sustained-firing-heard-in-sudanese-capital-amid-tensions/ At least 27 dead as Sudanese forces clash with rivals

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