Sustained firing heard in Sudanese capital amid tensions

AP , Saturday 15 Apr 2023

Sustained firing was heard in the Sudanese capital Saturday morning amid tensions between the military and the country's powerful paramilitary forces.

Smoke rises
Smoke rises above buildings in Khartoum on April 15, 2023, amid reported clashes in the city. - The Sudanese army said on April 15 that paramilitaries attacked its bases in Khartoum and elsewhere, shortly after the paramilitary said their camps were attacked by the regular army. AFP


The firing could be heard in a number of areas, including central Khartoum and the neighbourhood of Bahri.

Tensions between the military and the Rapid Support Forces, as the paramilitary is known, have escalated in recent months, forcing a delay in the signing of an internationally backed deal with political parties to revive the country’s democratic transition.

In a statement issued Saturday morning, the RSF accused the army of attacking its forces at one of its bases in South Khartoum. The military used light and heavy weapons in the attack, it said. The army has not commented on the incident.

Current tensions between the army and the paramilitary stem from a disagreement over how the RSF, headed by Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, should be integrated into the military and what authority should oversee the process. The merger is a key condition of Sudan’s unsigned transition agreement.

In a rare televised speech Thursday, a top army general warned of potential clashes with paramilitary force, accusing it of deploying forces in Khartoum and other areas of Sudan without the army’s consent. The RSF defended the presence of its forces in an earlier statement.

The paramilitary recently deployed troops near the northern Sudanese town of Merowe. Also, videos circulating on social media Thursday show what appear to be RSF-armed vehicles being transported into Khartoum, farther to the south.

The army-RSF rivalry dates back to the rule of autocratic President Omar al-Bashir, who was ousted in 2019. Under the former president, the paramilitary force grew out of former militias known as the Janjaweed that carried out a brutal crackdown in Sudan’s Darfur region during the decades of conflict there.

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