At least three civilians were killed in clashes between the army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Sudan on April 15, according to the doctors’ committee in the country.
The committee said that the clashes wounded “dozens” of other civilians and military personnel, without providing any further details.
Clashes broke out in the early morning as a large force from the RSF attempted to take over the presidential palace, the residence of the army chief and Khartoum International Airport in the capital, Khartoum.
The army responded quickly with support from the air force, whose fighter jets and attack helicopters hit several targets in the city and nearby areas.
The clashes spread to the northern city of Merowe. The RSF managed to seize a key air base near the city, where a detachment of the Egyptian military was recently deployed for joint drills. Egyptian Air Force fighter jets and El-Sa’ka Forces personnel were captured by the paramilitary group.
The confrontation came following months of escalating tensions between the army and the RSF and years of political unrest after an October 2021 military coup.
The army is led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who is the head of the so-called Sovereign Council that has been running the country since the coup. On the other hand, the RSF is under the command of the council’s vice-president General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.
Tensions between the two sides stem from a disagreement over how the RSF should be integrated into the army and what authority should oversee the process. The merger is a key condition of Sudan’s unsigned transition agreement.
The clashes will not likely end soon. The army has dismissed any possibility of negotiations or dialogue with the RSF, which wants to slow down the transition to civilian-led rule. There will be “no negotiations or dialogue until the dissolution of the paramilitary RSF”, the army said on its Facebook page.
Both the army and the RSF have so far ignored calls for a ceasefire from the international community. Sudan may be heading to a civil war.