Sudanese soldiers from the Rapid Support Forces unit stand on their vehicle during a military-backed rally, in Mayo district, south of Khartoum, Sudan, June 29, 2019. AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File

With Sudan entering its sixth month of a brutal conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia, the country appears to be metastasizing into a catastrophe that has spilled over into neighboring countries.

The result of fighting between the two factions in the capital city of Khartoum resulted in General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Chairman of the Sovereign Council and Commander of the Sudanese army, leaving the central force headquarters and establishing a temporary headquarters in the city of Port Sudan on the Red Sea coast.

“Sources indicate that Burhan intends to form an emergency government to manage the country until all parties in Sudan reach reconciliation,” noted the website However, this move has been met with resistance from RSF Commander Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti.

He is threatening to form a parallel government in Khartoum and has remarked that his reach includes Port Sudan. The situation is starting to mirror Libya, “where the country was divided into eastern and western regions governed by separate, warring factions, explained Ahram Online, an Egyptian daily news outlet.


According to several media outlets “Clashes and airstrikes continue in Khartoum, including Bahri and (twin city) Omdurman. Major landmarks and government buildings in Khartoum have been destroyed, including the Ministry of Justice, Taxation Chamber and Nile Petroleum tower.”

Al Jazeera reported that RSF and SAF clashes were reported around the area of Altekeina, resulting in a number of casualties. Airstrikes reportedly continued in Nyala, South Darfur, whereas in West Darfur, Masalit armed men allegedly killed five Arab men in the village of Anjimi along the Chad-Sudan border.

In North Kordofan, clashes were reported in El Obeid, where SAF strengthened its presence, and in Umm Rawaba, with at least 50 civilian casualties. In Kadugli, South Kordofan, clashes between SAF and the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement-North/AL Hilu continued. In Blue Nile, the security situation reportedly improved, whilst SAF announced the opening of a new recruitment camp.

A Sudanese citizen recently communicated to Africa Watch about how the conflict and violence is spreading. “The Rapid Support (Force) took complete control of the city of Umm Rawaba, (in South Kordofan State) looting money and taking cars belonging to residents and arresting and killing anyone who opposed them.”

In addition, she explained, “And what was worst was their taking of young girls and women from their homes to unknown destinations. On top of that, they also occupied many homes, including many homes of a number of my family members. And the most dangerous thing is that one of their (RSF) leaders threatened—I saw this on a video clip—that the next invasion would be our city in Tandalti. And as I mentioned, in a previous message, the city of Amruwa is only twenty minutes away from Tandalti.”

She also confirmed reports that Khartoum has “fallen almost completely under the grip of the RSF.”

The UN special envoy for Sudan who was declared “unwelcome” by the country’s military rulers resigned recently in a final speech to the UN Security Council. The special envoy warned that the conflict between Sudan’s rival military leaders “could be morphing into a full-scale civil war.” Burhan had written to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres requesting that Volker Perthes be removed from his UN post.

Within the last month, Sudan’s army chief has met with Qatar’s emir in his third trip abroad since war broke out between his country’s rival military factions in April. In recent weeks Burhan also visited Egypt, South Sudan, Eritrea and had talks in Türkiye with Turkish President Recep Tayyip.

During this drum-up for diplomatic support and legitimacy tour, Burhan’s apparent objective is securing rulership of the East African country. With the freezing of his rival Hemediti’s financial assets in Western banks, the sanctions against key members of Hemediti’s organization, and accusations of he and RSF of unlimited atrocities, Burhan being the heir apparent to the Sudanese mantle is all but guaranteed. 

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