Photos: Sudan battles intensify on third day

People in Khartoum have awakened to a third day of heavy clashes between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF), as the battle for control of the country intensified.

Air raids and shelling on Monday struck parts of the capital and the adjoining city of Omdurman. Sustained firing was also heard near the military headquarters, with white smoke rising from the area. Residents hunkering down in their homes reported power outages and incidents of looting.

The clashes are part of a power struggle between General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the commander of the armed forces, and General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the head of the RSF. The two generals are former allies who jointly orchestrated an October 2021 military coup that derailed Sudan’s short-lived transition to democracy following longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir’s overthrow in 2019.

In recent months, negotiations had been under way to get back on a path to democracy. Under international pressure, al-Burhan and Dagalo, who is also known as Hemedti, agreed to a framework agreement with political parties and pro-democracy groups.

However, the deal was vague on key points of dispute, including how the RSF would be integrated into the armed force and who would have final control. The signing of the deal was put off repeatedly, amid rising tensions between al-Burhan and Hemedti.

Top diplomats urged the sides to stop fighting, including the United Nations secretary-general, the head of the Arab League, the head of the African Union Commission, the United States secretary of state and the European Union foreign policy chief. The UN Security Council was to discuss the developments in Sudan later on Monday.

The fighting also spread to the war-wrecked western Darfur region, and areas of northern and eastern Sudan, near the borders with Egypt and Ethiopia. Over the weekend, the World Food Programme suspended its operations in Sudan after three of its employees were killed in fighting in Darfur.

Source link