Opposing political groups in Sudan have declined to heed calls for a ceasefire and have instead escalated their fight for the authority of the large and strategically significant nation as diplomatic initiatives to conclude the clash gain traction.
According to the UN envoy Volker Perthes, at least 185 individuals have been killed and over 1,800 wounded in a series of clashes that began on Saturday.
These clashes are between the army loyal to General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the leader of Sudan's transition government Sovereign Council, and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) whose commander is General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, otherwise known as Hemedti, who is the deputy head of the council.
When Did The Conflict Start?
The cause of the discord can be traced back to the policy of divide-and-rule implemented by the long-time Islamist dictator Omar al-Bashir, who assumed control in 1989.
The RSF was built from the dreaded Janjaweed militia that was blamed for genocide in Darfur and served as a balance to the traditional armed forces, which Bashir was suspicious about.
In 2019, two power blocs coordinated to expel Bashir from his post despite months of protests from the population.
Tensions between the two persisted, and diplomats and analysts in Khartoum anticipated a violent struggle for power after the October 2021 military coup that put a stop to the move toward a civilian government.
The violence has continued to climb precipitously in just the last three days with a rising death toll by the day.
Has The U.S. Tried To Help?
John Kirby, a spokesperson for the US National Security Council, reported that the Biden administration had contacted both sides and implored them to come to an immediate and unconditional truce, however, this plea went unacknowledged.
Kirby stated that, at present, the US has no plans to undertake an evacuation.
On Monday, Burhan upped the ante on violence by commanding the dissolution of the RSF, naming it "a rebellious group".
On the other side of the issue, Dagalo labeled Burhan as "a radical Islamist who is conducting air strikes against non-combatants".
The name-calling on both sides is a small indication that the imperiled leaders have apparently ignored the U.S. commands.
The U.S. has enough fish (that don’t swim in its waters) to fry with the Ukraine-Russia War, so it can’t afford to get its hands dirty in African civil conflicts.
Who Is Most Affected?
Particularly hard hit are hospitals, with necessary materials greatly impacted by the warfare. Many patients have been relocated, and medical personnel is striving to move those in critical care or dialysis from their current areas to more secure places.
Monday morning, a shelling incident left multiple people injured at a hospital in Khartoum.
A second medical center has asked for fuel to keep their generators going. Activists in the United Kingdom reported that a dentist accompanying her ailing father to another medical establishment was killed in the attack.
The Guardian gained information from a doctor who had taken refuge in the basement of the Khartoum teaching hospital.
The doctor reported that there had been intense shelling and that the military had ordered everyone to vacate the building.
“We are basically in the crossfire between the RSF and the army. They are firing at each other from their positions, and we are in between.”
The medical staff, patients, and civilians are in dire need of water, food, and secure shelter.
In reality, the conflict is taking place in residential areas.
In the West, it’s hard to imagine what life would look like if this was your waking reality.
The violent conditions are so severe that the police are not even patrolling their assigned communities out of fear for their own lives.
Abdalsalam Yassin, a shopkeeper, told Reuters, “We’re scared our store will be looted because there’s no sense of security.”
One of the biggest and most strategically significant countries in Africa is on the brink of being thrown into disarray due to the conflict.
It is believed that only with the help of influential intermediaries, like South Africa or Saudi Arabia, will there be any hope of the fighting ceasing.
Wait. Valiant American Attempts At Diplomacy?
Kirby commented that the US government is attempting to collaborate with the African Union, Arab League, and Intergovernmental Authority on Development to use collective pressure to bring an end to the conflict.
He emphasized that they had made it explicitly clear what they desired to take place; a cease-fire, a shift back to uphold the democratic structures, and the selected civilian authority.
Broadcast on Egyptian state television on Monday evening, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, declared that he had been in communication with the army and RSF in order to,
“Encourage them to accept a ceasefire and spare the blood of the Sudanese people.”
The highest governing body of the African Union has implored for an instantaneous end to the fighting without any stipulations, while the Arab nations of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which all have vested interests in Sudan, have issued similar requests.
The UN security council deliberated the matters on Monday so we should hear more very soon.
However, the two sides embroiled in the struggle for authority over Sudan and its valued resources have not expressed any eagerness to reach an agreement.
Supporters of Burhan have requested the termination of the RSF, while Dagalo declared to Al Arabiya satellite news channel that talks were out of the question and requested that Burhan hand himself over.
Khalid Omar of the pro-democracy faction, who took part in the discussions with the military, cautioned that the situation in Sudan might lead to a full-blown war and the eventual downfall of the nation.