According to reports, at least three civilians were killed during clashes in the capital Khartoum between Sudan’s military and paramilitary groups.
The doctors’ trade union in the country said that the deaths occurred during sustained fighting Saturday. Both the UK and US embassies warned their citizens to remain indoors.
As both sides battled for control of important sites, clashes between Sudan’s army (Sudan Army) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces(RSF) broke out around the Presidential Palace and Khartoum Airport.
After the ouster of the former leader Omar al-Bashir in 2019, the two parties formed a partnership. However, General Abdel Fattah al Burhan is the de facto President since the October 2021 military coup.
Sudan’s military forces today dismissed the possibility of negotiations, stating on their Facebook page that “no dialogue or negotiations will take place until the paramilitary RSF is disbanded”.
In an apparent battle for control, elements of the RSF and armed forces fired at each other in Khartoum as well as elsewhere in the nation on Saturday.
The new agreement signed in late 2013 was meant to pave way for democratic elections. However, violence broke out on Saturday after weeks of increasing tensions.
RSF chief Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (better known as Hemedti) has called General al Burhan “a criminal” and accused the troops of a coup.
Two major airlines have suspended their flights until further notice. The Saudi state-owned carrier Saudia, and Egyptair.
The carrier reported that a Saudia plane, which was preparing to depart from Khartoum Airport, came under fire in clashes. The plane was seen on fire on the runway in a video.
Residents have taken refuge in their homes, as heavy gunfire has covered the capital with black smoke. Injured civilians are now flooding into hospitals.
Read More: Why tensions could escalate in Sudan into an “all-out civil conflict”
Gunfire erupted in densely-populated areas of Khartoum, and Omdurman, its sister city.
Amal Mohamed, doctor at a public Omdurman hospital, said that “Fires and explosions were everywhere.” “All are fleeing and seeking refuge.”
Tahani Abuss, an activist for Sudanese human rights who lives near the military headquarters in Khartoum, said that “Khartoum is now a battlefield.”
The situation is dire and we do not know when it will end.
Where are the fights taking place?
Both sides accused each other of starting the fighting at a base of military south of Khartoum.
The clashes spread to the entire capital, including the military headquarters, airport, and presidential palace.
Gunfire was reported in several parts of the country, outside of the capital. This included heavy gunfire exchanges in Merowe in the north and clashes between El Fasher in Darfur and Nyala in the Darfur city.
The RSF claimed that it had taken control of the airport in Khartoum, as well as the presidential palace and an airbase at Merowe.
The Sudanese Army has called the claims a lie and insists it still controls all bases, airports and military bases.
RSF tweeted that troops from the armed forces had besieged their headquarters in southern Soba, and “launched an sweeping attack using heavy and light weaponry”.
British citizens in Sudan are urged to “remain indoors”
John Godfrey said that he and the staff of his embassy were sheltering as heavy gunfire was heard across several areas.
The British Embassy has also advised UK citizens to “remain inside” while it monitors the current situation.
James Cleverly, the Foreign Secretary of Canada, called on all violence to stop immediately.
He tweeted: “The UK calls upon the Sudanese leaders to do everything they can to restrain and de-escalate their troops to prevent further bloodshed.”
The military action won’t solve this problem.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the situation “fragile”, and EU Foreign Policy Chief Joseph Borrell urged all forces to end the violence.
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have joined forces in calling for restraint by all parties and dialogue.
The government of Chad closed the border with Sudan and called for calm on Saturday.
The 872-mile border between Sudan and India will be closed until further notice.
“All-out Civil War”
Yassir Abdallah, the managing editor of Al-Sudani, warned that the country is heading towards “all-out war”.
He said, “This is a very serious matter.”
“We are heading to a civil war if the Armed Forces leaders do not intervene to stop the violence.”
This is a serious threat to the overall stability of the nation. “There are no winners in this case.”
Isma’il Kushkush is an independent journalist from Khartoum who told Sky News that the conflict in the country was the “worst-case scenario”. This would be especially true if it, as many fear indicates, the beginning of a civil warfare.
He said that most people had heeded warnings to remain inside the building as heavy gunfire was heard throughout the city.
He said, “There is no one in the streets.”