On Saturday, the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, witnessed air raids and mutual artillery shelling, between the army led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces led by Muhammad Hamdan Dagalo. The Qatari embassy was also attacked in the midst of a power struggle between the two warring generals.
Khartoum residents reported to AFP that the capital has seen heavy fighting despite international appeals for a humanitarian truce. Eyewitnesses said that among the areas that were attacked were those surrounding the official television building in Omdurman. Sudan has been witnessing a conflict since April 15 between the army and the Rapid Support Forces, which reject a plan to integrate them into its ranks.
Since its outbreak, the battles have claimed nearly a thousand lives, most of them civilians, and prompted more than a million Sudanese to flee or seek refuge in neighboring countries. The United Nations warns of a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in the third largest African country in terms of area, knowing that a third of the population was dependent on aid even before the outbreak of the recent war.
On Friday, Al-Burhan dismissed Dagalo from his position as deputy head of the Sovereignty Council (currently the highest political authority in the country) and decided to appoint Malik Aqar to the post. He also appointed three of his allies to high military positions.
In 2020, Malik Agar signed a peace agreement with the leaders of the rebel movements with Khartoum, and he has been a member of the Sovereignty Council since February 2021, and announced in a statement he issued on Saturday that he was determined to seek to “stop this war” and push for negotiations, and he went directly to Daglo by saying There is no alternative to the stability of Sudan except through a single and unified professional army that respects Sudanese pluralism.
The integration of the Rapid Support Forces into the army is the main point of contention between Daglo and Al-Burhan. The Rapid Support Forces emerged from the “Janjaweed” militia, which ousted President Omar al-Bashir resorted to in the early part of the current century, to crush rebellious ethnic groups in the Darfur region. extensive, including diplomatic headquarters and offices of relief organizations.
On Saturday, the Qatari embassy was attacked by Doha. A statement by the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “The State of Qatar condemns in the strongest terms the irregular armed forces’ storming and vandalizing its embassy building in Khartoum… The embassy staff was previously evacuated, and none of the diplomats or embassy staff were harmed.”
The Qatari Foreign Ministry renewed the call to “immediately stop the fighting in Sudan, exercise maximum restraint, resort to the voice of reason, give priority to the public interest, and spare civilians the consequences of the fighting.”
Qatar did not directly accuse the RSF of the attack, but a statement issued by the Sudanese Foreign Ministry accused Daglo’s forces of “attacking the headquarters of the Qatari embassy in Khartoum, tampering with its contents, vandalizing furniture, and stealing belongings, computers and cars, without regard to international norms and laws concerned with the sanctity and protection of diplomats and the headquarters and property of diplomatic missions.” In recent weeks, the embassies of Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been attacked.
Saturday’s attack came the day after an Arab summit in Jeddah urged Sudan’s warring generals to stop fighting. Since the outbreak of the war, several efforts to establish a permanent truce have failed, knowing that representatives of the two parties are holding talks in Saudi Arabia.
When asked about those talks, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan said on Friday that the focus is on reaching a truce that allows Sudanese civilians to catch their breath.
And US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken urged Al-Burhan during a phone conversation, which he had with him on Saturday, to be “flexible” in this file, according to a statement by the US State Department.
Although major battles are concentrated in Khartoum, the violence has spread to the Darfur region in the west of the country, where the RSF has its roots. In Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state, fierce fighting took place during the last 48 hours, killing 22 people, according to the Sudanese Bar Association.
On Friday, the United Nations humanitarian envoy, Martin Griffiths, announced the allocation of $22 million from a United Nations emergency fund to help Sudanese who have fled to neighboring countries. On Friday, the United States pledged to allocate $103 million to Sudan and its neighbors to support the displaced and refugees.