Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) seized a number of Egyptian Air Force MiG-29M fighter jets at the northern Merowe Air Base during clashes with the Sudanese military that broke out on April 15.
One of the videos that surfaced online during the clashes showed RSF fighters celebrating around the Egyptian fighter jets, which were deployed in Sudan earlier this month for joint drills. Another video showed captured personnel from El-Sa’ka Forces, an Egyptian military commando unit.
In a statement, the RSF said that a detachment of the Egyptian military had surrendered to its fighters, without providing any additional details.
Clashes broke out in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, in the early morning as a large force from the RSF attempted to take over key military and government buildings as well as several nearby airports and air bases. The army responded quickly with support from the Sudanese Air Forces, which bombed several camps of the RSF in the capital and its outskirts.
The clashes broke out after days of tension between the military and the RSF over a plan over a proposed transition to civilian-led rule.
Egypt expressed great concern over the ongoing clashes in Sudan, calling on the RSF and the military to exercise utmost restraint. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry released a statement urging the two sides and the military to protect the lives of the citizens, without commenting on the capture of the Egyptian detachment at Merowe Air Base.
The Sudanese military 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 a coup in October 2021. On the other hand, the RSF is under the command of the council’s vice-president General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.
While the military insists on the transition to civilian-led rule two years after the coup, the RSF wants a ten-year transitional period. The force also rejects integration into the army.
So far, Egypt has been taking a neutral stance on the crisis in Sudan. The RSF move against Egyptian troops in Merowe could push Cairo to take the side of the military.