As fighting in Khartoum and elsewhere in Sudan intensified on April 16, UN Special Representative Volker Perthes announced that a “temporary pause in fighting on humanitarian grounds” was accepted by leaders of the warring military factions – General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, Commander of the Sudanese Armed Forces, and General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, Commander of the Rapid Support Forces.The pause, which was proposed by the UN and and the Trilateral Mechanism that includes the African UN and the East African grouping IGAD, was reported to have been ignored in many areas.
The inter-factional violence that broke out in Khartoumon April 15, following longstanding tensions between the forces loyal to Sudan’s two most powerful generals, has quickly escalated and spread to other parts of Sudan. As fighting continued, conflicting claims and counter claims of both factions regarding which key points they control are difficult to verify. The African Union, the United Nations, the United States and IGADhave all called for a ceasefire in the conflict, in which many civilians have been killed and wounded.
Also on Sunday, the World Food Programme announced a temporary halt in operations after three WFP employees were killed during fighting on Saturaday. The clashes are occurring between the army, led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces. Deutsche Welle reports that the fighting appeared to be the result of an attempted coup.
Unpacking Sudan Clashes – Who Is Who and How Did We Get Here? – Deutsche Welle
The RSF said its units took control of the presidential palace and Khartoum’s international airport, along with another airport and military base north of the capital, but the military denied the claims, saying in a statement it had gained control over RSF leadership “without resistance” and had struck RSF bases, chasing after paramilitary units.
Previously, the Armed Forces (SAF) have issued a statement denouncing the increased deployment of the Rapid Support Forces in Khartoum and northern Sudan. The army command reacted to the deployment in the past few days of a large number of RSF paramilitaries, “without SAF approval” inside the country’s capital and the town of Merowe in Northern State, about 200 kilometres north of Khartoum.
“Preserving and maintaining the security and safety of the country is the constitutional and legal responsibility of the army, with the assistance of the various state institutions,” the spokesperson for the SAF General Command said in a statement issued at dawn on Saturday.
A dialogue conference on security and military reform in Khartoum concluded on March 28 without reaching a clear agreement on the subject. Military leaders from both parties refrained from attending the closing ceremony.
On April 1, the civilian signatories of the Framework Agreement decided to postpone the signing of the Final Agreement for five days to give the junta members extra days to resolve their differences over the reforms. Yet April 6 passed without witnessing a signing ceremony.
The RSF grew out of, and is primarily composed of, the Janjaweed militias which fought on behalf of the Sudanese government during the War in Darfur, killing and raping civilians and burning their houses. The RSF’s actions in Darfur qualify as crimes against humanity according to Human Rights Watch. The RSFare administered by the National Intelligence and Security Service, although during military operations they are commanded by the Sudanese Armed Forces.
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