Sudan has been gripped by a violent power struggle between its military and an influential paramilitary group, which could have lasting repercussions for its future.
Struggles among Egypt’s leading generals are ongoing. At the center of it all are Generals Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, army chief and de-facto head of state, and Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, leader of Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
The Political Situation
Sudanese military and paramilitary forces have engaged in an increasingly volatile battle for control, which threatens to destabilize their country. Since April’s violence broke out, hundreds have died while thousands more have had to flee their homes as thousands fight back for control of the region.
As such, hopes for a peaceful transition to civilian rule are rapidly diminishing. Major powers around the world including the US have issued calls for an international ceasefire and mediation efforts.
An international coalition, with shared objectives, can play an integral part in helping prevent further deterioration. But this effort will not come easily or smoothly.
Since General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan orchestrated a coup to put the military in charge of government in October 2021, tensions between him and Hemedti’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia have flared. Burhan organized an army-led coup that put Burhan himself in power while Hemedti led RSF has escalated.
Sudan’s military and a resurgent paramilitary force formed from Janjaweed militias are engaged in an epic struggle for control. Both forces have deployed thousands of troops around Khartoum and other flashpoints across the country, both sides possessing their own weapons systems for use against one another.
According to the World Health Organization, the conflict has already claimed at least 270 lives and raised fears that it could spread across other regions of this resource-rich nation.
Clashes between Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, commander of the armed forces, and General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, head of Rapid Support Forces (RSF), have arisen due to an ongoing power struggle between former allies who orchestrated an October 2021 military coup that destabilized a transition toward democracy following Omar al-Bashir’s removal in 2019.
The Paramilitary Forces
Sudan’s military and the Rapid Support Forces paramilitary group have engaged in an attritional war since Saturday when fighting began, leading to hundreds of civilian deaths and injuries as a result of their fighting.
International actors have issued warnings of impending unrest as an unsafe escalation of conflict that could spread beyond Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. These international bodies include the US, China, Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE urging parties to cease fighting immediately without preconditions.
Wagner is an influential mercenary group that has provided Rapid Support Forces (RSF) leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo with surface-to-air missiles in order to fight back against Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of Sudan’s Armed Forces and key figure in its ongoing crisis. Sudanese and regional diplomatic sources report this development. These weapons have significantly strengthened his fight against Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan who leads Sudanese army’s chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan who leads Sudanese army’s headquarter General Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan who leads their army forces armed forces under Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan who leads their army under Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan who leads them from behind in ongoing Sudan crisis crisis situation.
Conflict in Sudan broke out on 15 April as two top military leaders vie for power. Although a recent ceasefire agreement has been announced, fighting between Abdel Fattah al-Burhan’s regular armed forces and General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, continues unabated.
Fighting has claimed hundreds of lives and left thousands wounded, trapping many residents in their homes and leaving civilians fearful for their safety and security. The United States, working closely with the government to manage and plan for the situation and future development, has stated its immediate goal as stopping violence by getting warring parties together in negotiations over transition to civilian rule.
Council members at this meeting stressed that any solution must reflect Sudan’s national circumstances and the best interest of its people. They encouraged the government to redouble its efforts toward meeting outstanding peace and security objectives, as well as urge international partners to join regional organizations and Sudanese parties in finding lasting solutions to the conflict.