Sudanese Army and Rapid Support Forces Extend Fragile Ceasefire by Five Days


The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) agreed to extend a fragile truce by five days on May 29. The truce, which came into effect on May 22, was marked by violations although the intensity of fighting decreased. Over 850 civilians have died and over 3,600 have been injured since fighting broke out on April 15. Nearly 1.4 million have been displaced.

On May 28, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, which had jointly mediated the ceasefire, released a statement highlighting violations by both parties. The statement said that while the SAF violated the prohibition against aerial attacks, the RSF had “continued encroachment in civilian areas.” Among the buildings occupied by the RSF was the office of the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP).

SCP spokesperson Fathi Elfadl told Peoples Dispatch that no humanitarian corridor had been set up and areas worst affected by the fighting had not received aid. In fact, the U.S.-Saudi statement said that both SAF and RSF forces had stolen consignments of humanitarian aid.

Civilians have borne the brunt of the conflict. Prices of bottled water, food, and fuel have gone up between 40 and 60 percent in conflict-affected areas. The World Food Program (WFP) projects that 18 million people will be left unable to afford basic food by as early as August if the fighting continues.

The fighting in Sudan was the culmination of months of tension between top generals who had staged a coup in October 2021 and severely repressed civilian protesters who were demanding democracy.

from the Peoples Dispatch / Globetrotter News Service

Will the Latest Ceasefire Hold in Sudan?


Fighting continued in Sudan hours before a ceasefire agreement was to take effect between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on Monday, May 22. The warring parties had signed the agreement on May 20. Around 850 civilians have died since fighting broke out on April 15.

Concerns remain about whether the ceasefire will hold as earlier agreements were violated. This is the first time the warring parties have signed a written agreement with a mechanism for monitoring. A Monitoring and Coordination Committee is to be established, comprising three representatives each from the SAF and RSF, and three each from the US and Saudi Arabia, which have been jointly facilitating the negotiations in Jeddah.

While welcoming the agreement, spokesperson of the Sudanese Communist Party Fathi Elfadl told Peoples Dispatch that this committee is insufficient to monitor and ensure compliance. “It does not include a single representative of the civilians who have been suffering the most,” he said. 

The warring parties have committed to ensuring the safety of humanitarian workers and allowing humanitarian assistance delivery. Elfadl said that the humanitarian corridors should not be controlled by the SAF or RSF but by organizations like the doctors’ union and the Sudanese Red Crescent. He added that neighborhood resistance committees, which have been at the forefront of mass protests and relief work, should receive and distribute the aid.

Around 24.7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the Revised Humanitarian Response Plan for Sudan prepared by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

from the Peoples Dispatch / Globetrotter News Service

Fighting Between Sudanese Army and RSF Has Disastrous Impact in Darfur as Hundreds of Thousands Are Displaced


Over 700,000 people have been internally displaced in Sudan since April 15, when an armed conflict began between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), according to the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The IOM spokesperson, Paul Dillon, said at a press briefing in Geneva on May 9 that the number has doubled in the prior week after IOM had previously estimated on May 3 that 334,053 had been displaced, 72 percent of them in West Darfur and South Darfur States.

In the states of South Darfur, North Darfur, and Central Darfur, clashes between the SAF and RAF began soon after they started fighting in Khartoum, killing many civilians, as Mohammed Alamaldin, a civil society activist from West Darfur’s capital Genena, told Peoples Dispatch.

However, in his own state, community members—including youth, women, and elders—had managed to secure a local agreement between SAF and RSF “to wait until the winner is determined in Khartoum.”

The locally negotiated truce lasted for a little over a week before forces clashed on April 24. Amid the ensuing insecurity, the armed conflict between West Darfur’s ethnic militias escalated, killing over 250 and wounding 300 civilians between April 27 and May 3, according to Alamaldin. On May 12 and May 13 alone, 280 were killed and over 160 were injured.

from the Peoples Dispatch / Globetrotter News Service

After Years of Attacking Protesters, Sudan’s Army and Paramilitary RSF Turn on Each Other

by Pavan Kulkarni and Prasanth Radhakrishnan

More than 500 people have been killed and 4,000 injured since fighting broke out between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on April 15.

Groups such as the Sudan Doctors Union are worried the fighting could escalate after the evacuation of foreign nationals. Thousands have already fled the country. Over 69 percent of the hospitals in and around the conflict zones are inoperable. There is a severe shortage of medicine, food, water, and electricity.

The fighting is the latest in a series of political convulsions since massive pro-democracy protests overthrew long-time dictator Omar al-Bashir in April 2019. Army chief General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, who is the chair of the ruling military junta, and his deputy and RSF head, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, aka Hemeti, were key members of Bashir’s regime. The RSF was formed out of janjaweed militias who were responsible for mass killings in Darfur during Bashir’s reign.

Burhan and Hemeti took over de facto control after Bashir’s fall and were responsible for the massacre of more than 100 protesters who were demanding civilian rule at a sit-in in Khartoum in June 2019. In its aftermath, they negotiated with right-wing parties in the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) coalition and inaugurated a civilian-military transitional government in August.

While this government had a civilian Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, defense, police, and foreign policy were under the control of the army, with Burhan heading a ‘Sovereignty Council.’ The army controls a substantial chunk of the economy while the RSF has gorged on the mineral wealth of Darfur.

The transitional arrangement was supposed to pave the way for civilian rule. Instead, in October 2021, Burhan and Hemeti took complete control in a coup.

Throughout the years since the coup, protesters took to the streets, often in the hundreds of thousands, refusing any compromise with the junta and demanding genuine democracy and civilian control of the military. The protests were spearheaded by the Resistance Committees (RCs), a network of over 5,000 neighborhood organizations. Left forces, including the Sudanese Communist Party, were a key force too. Over 120 people were killed in the attacks on demonstrations in the months following the October 2021 coup.

Disregarding popular sentiment against any negotiations with the junta, the international community—the UN, U.S., UK, European Union, African Union, and the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development—supported renewed talks between the junta and the FFC.

This negotiation led to the Framework Agreement in December 2022, which was to be concluded with a final political agreement that would have led to the formation of another joint government with civilians on April 11, 2023.

This plan did not materialize as the SAF and RSF turned on each other after disagreeing over the timespan for the integration of the latter into the former.

The Sudanese Communist Party has reiterated its rejection of any compromise with the junta. It maintains that international support for another power-sharing compromise after the October coup served to legitimize the junta, which eventually led to this infighting.

Author Bio: This article was produced in partnership by Peoples Dispatch and Globetrotter. Pavan Kulkarni and Prasanth Radhakrishnan are journalists with Peoples Dispatch and Newsclick.

Source: Globetrotter

As Army and Rapid Support Forces Battle It Out, Sudanese Left Calls For Restoring the Revolution


As many as 60 people have been killed since fighting broke out between the Sudanese Army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on April 15. Since the fighting started, the two forces have released differing accounts of who fired the first shot.

The RSF claims that the Army carried out a series of surprise attacks against their troops and bases in locations across the country. The Army maintains that fighting began after the RSF allegedly took control of the Presidential Palace, the seat of the junta’s chairman and army chief, General Abdel-Fattah Burhan. 

Since then, there has been heavy gunfire in several cities, including near the Presidential Palace and the airport in Khartoum city. The violence has spilled over into residential areas, as the two are vying for control of strategic areas and facilities such as airports and bases. Civilians have been advised to stay inside, but civilian casualties have already been registered.

The violence between the two groups was sparked over disagreements regarding the timeline for the integration of the autonomous RSF into the army’s command chain. The issue of integration was a key aspect of a deal that Sudan’s ruling junta was to sign with right-wing civilian forces to share power with the latter.

Pro-democracy groups opposed the deal, fearing it would lead to the army retaining control with civilian faces, the same situation as before the October 2021 coup.

Speaking to Peoples Dispatch a few hours before the fighting broke out, the Sudanese Communist Party’s Foreign Relations Secretary, Saleh Mahmoud, said “Both the forces, the army, and the RSF, have a mutual interest in escalating armed conflict so that it can be used as a reason to not hand over power to the civilian forces.”

from the Peoples Dispatch / Globetrotter News Service