Fighting continues in Sudan – UN Security Council advises on crisis

In Sudan, heavy fighting between the rival camps of the country’s two most powerful men continued on Monday night. Residents in the capital Khartoum reported sustained shots and explosions, but fighting also continued in other parts of the country in the Horn of Africa – for example in the port city of Port Sudan on the Red Sea and in the city of Merowe, which has an important airport. The national crisis has already claimed the lives of dozens of people, and the number of victims could rise significantly. The United Nations Security Council in New York plans to discuss the situation on Monday.

The power struggle in Sudan is causing chaos in Africa’s third largest country in terms of area, with around 46 million inhabitants and rich oil and gold deposits. In view of the confusing situation and contradictory information from both parties to the conflict, it is unclear who has the upper hand on the battlefield. Both the Sudanese armed forces under the command of de facto President Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led by his deputy Mohammed Hamdan Daglo are spreading reports of success that are difficult to verify.

WHO: At least 83 dead and 1126 injured

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Sunday evening that at least 83 people had been killed and more than 1,126 people injured since the conflict began. Due to the heavy fighting in Khartoum at the weekend, the hospitals in the capital, in which around six million people live, are completely overwhelmed. Many of the nine clinics that take in injured civilians lack medical supplies such as blood supplies and transfusion supplies. Water and power outages and a lack of fuel for the hospitals’ power generators further restricted operations. Specialists such as anesthesiologists were also missing.

Fighting broke out in Khartoum on Saturday morning. The RSF claimed that Sudanese soldiers had entered their headquarters in the south of the city. RSF forces attacked the airport north of the city and the presidential palace. The army used artillery, fighter planes and tanks. On Sunday, fighting continued to focus on the nearby army headquarters and state broadcaster building.

Since the fall of long-term ruler Omar al-Bashir in 2019, the RSF and the military have effectively shared power in the country, but relations between the two camps have never been free of tension. In the course of the transition to a civilian government, which was recently postponed again, the RSF was supposed to be integrated into the armed forces, which led to a rift between the allies. RSF leader Daglo, also known as Hemedti, accused General Al-Burhan of clinging to power.

Political scientist looks worried at the crisis state

The fighting threatened to completely tear apart Sudan, which is already characterized by conflicts, said Gerrit Kurtz, political scientist at the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik in Berlin, the German Press Agency. The decisive factor is the development of the coming days. “This includes which of the two parties gains control of the state institutions in central Khartoum and which wins the struggle for domestic and international legitimacy.”

“Years of competition between the two security forces, which were only held together by a partnership of convenience against civil society, is now erupting in open hostility,” explained Kurtz. “Both forces are well armed, although the RSF does not have an air force and has less heavy weapons.”

The military is riddled with loyal supporters of the ruler Al-Bashir, who was replaced in 2019, who distrust the RSF leader because of his role in the coup at the time and see him as a traitor. “Army chief Al-Burhan is not least acting under the pressure of these Islamist forces, which intensified in view of the possible transfer of power to a civilian government,” said Kurtz. The general opposed the control of the security apparatus by a civilian transitional government, “while Hemedti believed that he could continue his business and operations in the gray area of ​​legality.”

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