May 19, 2024

Heavy Fighting Erupts in Sudan’s Capital, Khartoum, and Spreads to Other Cities Amidst Ongoing Tensions

The aftermath of an attack on the village of Masteri in west Darfur, Sudan Saturday, July 25, 2020. © 2020 Mustafa Younes via AP
The aftermath of an attack on the village of Masteri in west Darfur, Sudan Saturday, July 25, 2020. © 2020 Mustafa Younes via AP

Armed clashes between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF), an independent military force, erupted in the capital city of Khartoum and spread to other cities, including in the Darfur region, on April 15, 2023. The fighting, which began in heavily populated parts of the capital, resulted in the use of tanks, artillery, and jet aircraft.

The violence follows weeks of rising tensions between the SAF and RSF over security force reform during negotiations for a new transitional government. The two forces had jointly overthrown Sudan’s transitional government in October 2021. Human Rights Watch has expressed deep concern over the escalating situation and the potential for civilian casualties.

“Sudan’s military leaders are again showing utter disregard for the hopes and rights of the Sudanese people. With clashes taking place in densely populated areas, both sides need to take measures to protect civilians and civilian structures from harm,” said Mohamed Osman, Sudan researcher at Human Rights Watch.

Osman also called for a prompt and concrete response from Sudan’s international partners, who have thus far failed to hold military leaders accountable for abuses since the coup and beyond. He urged the United Nations Security Council to hold an emergency meeting and publicly call on all forces to protect civilians.

The ongoing fighting has created a dangerous and unpredictable situation for the residents of the affected areas. As the violence continues to escalate, there are growing concerns over the potential for a humanitarian crisis, further displacement of people, and damage to civilian infrastructure.

Sudan’s international partners, the United Nations, and regional organizations are now under increased pressure to intervene and help find a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Many argue that the situation remains fluid, and the international community must act swiftly to prevent further suffering and loss of life in Sudan.

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