At least 56 people have been killed and 595 wounded in clashes between the army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) across Sudan, the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors announced on April 16.
According to the committee, at least 17 of those who were killed in the clashes were civilians. The casualties included a doctor, three employees for the World Food Programme and an Indian national who was working in Sudan for the Dal Group Company.
The clashes broke out a day earlier when the RSF made an attempt to capture the capital, Khartoum. The army responded with full force, even calling in airstrikes against the paramilitary force. As a result, the confrontation expanded to other parts in the country’s northern, eastern and southern regions.
General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the top commander of the RSF, claims to have seized most of Khartoum’s government sites.
“The RSF controls more than 90 percent of strategic sites in Khartoum,” Dagalo said in an interview with Sky News Arabia, referring to his paramilitary group.
In a separate interview with Al Jazeera, Dagalo described the army’s Commander-in-Chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, as a “criminal,” accusing him of instigating fighting
Meanwhile, al-Burhan disputed Dagalo’s claims and said the military has maintained control over government sites in the capital.
The army accused the RSF of “traitorous plotting” against the country, and has demanded its dissolution. There will be “no negotiation or dialogue before dissolving Hemedti’s rebel militia,” the army said in a statement. It also issued a wanted poster for Dagalo, calling him a “fugitive criminal.”
The situation on the ground remains uncertain, with clashes ongoing in Khartoum as well as in Merowe, Port Sudan, Kassala, Gedaref, Damazin, Kosti, Kadugli, and Omdurman.
Both al-Burhan and Dagalo have been ruling Sudan as the president and vice-president of the so-called Sovereign Council since a coup in October 2021.
Tensions between the two commanders stem from a disagreement over how the RSF should be integrated into the army and what authority should oversee the process during transition to civilian-led rule in the country, which was planned for this year.
The United States, Russia, United Kingdom, European Union and China have all called for an immediate ceasefire in Sudan. Arab states, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, made similar calls. The United Nations Secretary-General also spoke to both al-Burhan and Dagalo, urging them to end the clashes.
The power struggle between the army and the RSF will likely delay transition to a civilian-led rule in Sudan, and could take the country to a civil war.