Sudan, a northeastern country located in the African continent with a land mass of about 1.9 million square kilometers is experiencing yet another kind of unrest after a series of conflicts in the past. Sadly, the cause of the unrest this time is the struggle for power by two well-known Generals who worked together to overthrow Sudan’s former military ruler, Omar al-Bashir in August 2019 and carried out a military coup in 2021 that led to the removal of Dr. Abdalla Hamdok, Sudan’s former prime minister.
Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the leader of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) became the head of state after the former ruler, Bashir was overthrown, and Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo popularly known as Hemedti, the head of the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF), became his deputy. Both Generals have been at loggerheads which led to the start of the conflict that began on April 15th. A new deal was initiated in December 2022 to put power back in the hands of civilians and both parties signed an agreement to hand over power to a civilian government. Plans were in motion to integrate the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) into the Sudanese Army but the bone of contention was the number of years it would take for that to take effect. Gen. Burhan demands it is done in two years while Gen. Hemedti wants it to be done in 10 years.
The power struggle has left about 400 people dead and thousands injured, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) but the death toll is likely to be higher as some hospitals have closed down as a result of the fight. Many hospitals in Khartoum and nearby states have been shut down across the country due to conflict; the country’s main airport, railway facility, government buildings, and planes were damaged.
Residents were told to remain indoors but this doesn’t guarantee their safety as air strikes were carried out in different parts of the country’s capital, Khartoum. The air strikes led to the loss of innocent lives and properties, hospitals are filled with casualties and are in need of more aid to support the rising number of injured persons, schools are shut down, numerous flights to the state capital were suspended, no power supply, access to food and water supply has significantly dropped. People flee their homes to other countries like Egypt, Sudan’s neighbour to the North, and Chad. In the midst of these, Chad has closed its borders to Sudan.
UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres called for a ceasefire and urged both parties to put an end to the violence. The U.S secretary of State Antony Blinken, released a statement urging the Sudanese Army and the RSF to put an end to the fighting. Despite the 72-hour cease-fire that took effect on Tuesday, April 25th, air strikes were carried out in different parts of the country’s capital.
The current situation has led to the evacuation of some citizens of countries like Russia, Japan, U.S., and the U.K. by their governments with more people pleading for help to flee the country.
What’s next for Sudan? Speculations are brewing that this could lead to yet another civil war while others are hopeful that peace and unity will be restored, sooner rather than later.