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Sudan crisis: What’s next after a week of deadly fighting? | Conflict News


Fighting broke out between the forces of two rival generals in Sudan on April 15, killing more than 400 people, sparking a humanitarian catastrophe and raising fears of a protracted, unpredictable civil war.

In the capital, Khartoum, and elsewhere, troops loyal to Army Chief Abdul Fattah al-Burhan joined forces with the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) commander Mohammad “Hhmeti” Hamdan The fighting between Daglow continues.

Analysts have warned that the conflict could attract foreign armed groups and regional powers and could have far-reaching repercussions not only for the northeastern African country but also for an already unstable region.

Experts agree that a quick military victory seemed unlikely because Burhan’s army was stronger, but Hemeti’s quick support troops excelled in urban warfare. The stage seemed set for a protracted conflict.

battle spread

Fighting has escalated rapidly, engulfing Khartoum and its twin city of Omdurman and several other areas, notably Darfur.

“The battle could quickly slide into an ongoing war with the potential to spill over into the country’s volatile periphery and spill over into neighboring countries,” the International Crisis Group said. The all-out civil war that has been feared.”

Cameron Hudson of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington said the violence could escalate on the Sudanese border.

“The challenge is that the conflict … spreads to every corner of the country — on the borders with Chad, the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Ethiopia,” Hudson said.

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refugee

The United Nations said between 10,000 and 20,000 people had fled the fighting to Chad, Sudan’s western neighbor.

Eastern Chad already hosts 400,000 Sudanese refugees, and the new arrivals are putting additional pressure on the country’s overstretched public services and resources.

Sudan is one of the world’s poorest countries, with the United Nations saying in February that more than a third of the country’s population is facing a growing hunger crisis.

“Millions of civilians are caught in the crossfire and basic necessities are rapidly depleted,” the International Crisis Group said.

Hudson said he “fully expects a massive civilian exodus” once the first durable ceasefire goes into effect. “I would expect millions of people to try to cross the border,” he said.

civil war

Analyst Alex de Waal said more people in the deeply divided Sudanese society could take up arms if the conflict persists. “There are two protagonists. If the conflict continues, the situation will quickly become more complicated.”

Each side is an alliance of several different groups who may change their alliances based on “racial considerations,” De Waal said.

The New York-based Soufan Center warned of “intervention from outside states, warlords, armed militias and a range of other violent non-state actors”.

“Commanders’ failure to rein in their fighters could further prolong the violence,” the think tank said.

regional power

Other countries in the region have formally called for an end to the violence, but experts agree that Egypt supports Burhan, while the United Arab Emirates supports Hemeti.

Hudson said the two generals were trying to get weapons and reinforcements from neighboring countries. Russia’s Wagnerian mercenary group also exists in Sudan, but its involvement is largely focused on mining the country’s gold reserves.

De Waal warned that fighting could attract actors providing funding, weapons “and possibly their own military or proxies.”

He added that Libya, the Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia and Eritrea were likely to play some political and even military roles in the conflict.

to mediate

Pointing to Sudan’s strategic position in the Red Sea, Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, an Emirati political scientist, said: “Sudan’s instability is a concern for the whole world, especially its neighbors.” “Every Individuals will pay the price.”

Since tensions erupted, mediators from the United Nations, the African Union, the IGAD regional bloc, and Western and Gulf capitals have been trying to bring Burhan and Hemeti to the negotiating table. Efforts have so far been futile.

Years of diplomacy with the two generals since the 2019 overthrow of longtime authoritarian leader Omar al-Bashir has bolstered them, some analysts said.

Hudson said the international community and major powers are “getting nothing” when they call for a ceasefire now.

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