Sudan conflict: Call for global intervention

Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, is on the verge of collapse with intense fighting between the two warring generals who are at each other’s throat and trying to control the resources of North-Arab African country. The war, which erupted on April 15, has led to the death of many innocent people. There are reported cases of humanitarian crisis with hundreds of women and children worse hit.

To compound the humanitarian crisis, the Sudan neighbouring countries of Egypt, Ethiopia and Chad Republic have denied access to their borders for easy entry of the surging refugees who troop in their thousands to escape the ongoing war. Many nationalists have been trapped in the war-torn country. Nigeria and other countries have started evacuating their citizens to safety.

The war revolves around infighting between two rival groups – the Sudanese army and a paramilitary group known as the RSF, or Rapid Support Forces. Since a coup in the country in 2021, which ended a transitional government put in place after the fall of longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir two years earlier, Sudan has been run by the army, with coup leader General Abdel-Fattah Burhan as de facto ruler. The RSF, led by General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, who is generally known as Hemedti, has worked alongside the Sudanese army to help keep the military in power.

Following Bashir’s ouster, the political transition was supposed to result in elections by the end of 2023, with Burhan promising a transition to civilian rule. But it appears that neither Burhan nor Dagalo has any intention of relinquishing power. Moreover, they are locked in a power struggle that turned violent on April 15, 2023. Since then, members of the RSF and the Sudanese army have engaged in gunfights in the capital, Khartoum, as well as elsewhere in the country. Over the course of three days, the violence has spiraled.

The recent background to the violence was a disagreement over how RSF paramilitaries should be incorporated into the Sudanese army. Tension boiled over after the RSF started deploying members around the country and in Khartoum without the express permission of the army. But in reality, the violence has been brewing for a while in Sudan, with concern over the RSF seeking to control more of the country’s economic assets, notably, its gold mines.

The development in Sudan over the last few days are not good for the stability of the nation or its prospects for any transition to democratic rule. Dagalo rose to power within the RSF beginning in the early 2000s when he was at the head of the militia known as Janjaweed – a group responsible for human right atrocities in the Darfur region.

The entire international and regional communities need to act to prevent the conflict from worsening. This requires a collective approach and unified diplomatic bloc capable of pressuring the parties to stop fighting – including the US, UK, Norway (Troika), and the European Union (EU), key influential players in the Gulf, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, Egypt, and other influential states such as China.

Crucially, international efforts should connect with continental and regional mediation efforts by the African Union (AU) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), to ensure that efforts are not duplicated or diluted.

Ibrahim Mustapha,

Pambegua, Kaduna state