Sudan army chief demands end of rebellion in defiant speech

AFP , Monday 28 Aug 2023

Sudan's army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan told troops in Port Sudan on Monday time has come to "end the rebellion" by paramilitaries, promising victory four months into a brutal war.

Abdel Fattah al-Burhan in Port Sudan
Sudanese army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan during his visit to the Flamingo Marine Base in Port Sudan on August 28, 2023. AFP


The paramilitary Rapid Support Forces led by Burhan's deputy turned rival Mohamed Hamdan Daglo had besieged the army chief inside military headquarters in Khartoum for the past four months.

But last week, Burhan made his first public foray outside the headquarters to review troops in parts of the war-scarred country.

That led to speculation in the local media that Burhan and Daglo had negotiated a deal, a move the army chief staunchly denied in his defiant speech to soldiers in Port Sudan.

"No one helped me out of the army headquarters. I did not come as a result of any agreement. It was a successful military operation," Burhan said in the Red Sea port city.

Port Sudan, where government officials and the United Nations have relocated operations. is the site of Sudan's only functioning airport.

"We are mobilising everywhere to defeat this rebellion, defeat this treason, by these mercenaries who come from all over the world," Burhan told cheering troops.

"There is no time for discussion now, we are concentrating all our efforts on the war, to put an end to the rebellion," he said.

His comments come a day after Daglo released a statement detailing a 10-point "vision" to end the war and build "a new state".

The plan calls for "civilian rule based on democratic norms" and "a single, professional, national military institution", the very sticking point which turned the former allies into rivals.

Before they fell out, Burhan, backed by Daglo, became Sudan's de facto ruler in a 2021 military takeover that derailed a fragile transition to civilian rule.The RSF "started this war by saying 'this is the army of the old regime and the Islamists,' this is a lie," Burhan said Monday.

Conservative estimates from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data project show that nearly 5,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

But the real figure is thought to be much higher, and the UN says more than 4.6 million people have been displaced by the fighting both inside and outside Sudan.

Fighting meanwhile continued Monday in Khartoum, where residents reported street battles as fighter-jets flew overhead.

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