Sudan’s capital experiences outbreak of fighting as army and paramilitary exchange accusations.
The Sudanese capital Khartoum witnessed sustained gunfire on Saturday, as tensions rose between the military and the powerful Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group.
The RSF accused the army of entering their camps in southern Khartoum, while the army spokesperson stated that the paramilitary group attacked army camps in the capital.
The firing was heard in various areas, including central Khartoum, Bahri neighbourhood, and the vicinity of the presidential palace, with witnesses reporting smoke rising from the airport.
The confrontation follows weeks of growing tension, resulting in a delay in signing the internationally backed deal with political parties to revive Sudan’s democratic transition.
The military and paramilitary have been at odds over how to integrate the RSF into the military and who should oversee the process, the merger being a crucial condition of Sudan’s transition agreement.
The RSF, headed by Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, grew out of former militias known as the Janjaweed that carried out a brutal crackdown in the Darfur region during the rule of President Omar al-Bashir.
In a rare televised speech on Thursday, a high-ranked army general warned of potential clashes with the RSF, accusing it of deploying troops without consent.
The RSF, in turn, defended the presence of its forces and claimed to have seized Khartoum’s Republican Palace, the main airport, and an airbase in the Marawi city. The commercial flights headed towards Khartoum showed a turn-around after approaching the destination.
The RSF also reported being contacted by three former rebel leaders holding government positions to de-escalate the conflict.
(Jowhar with AFP, AP and Reuters)