Battles between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) continued in Khartoum state and West Kordofan yesterday. The SAF denied the occurrence of a coup within the army, while the RSF said it will step up its operations against the army. The US Ambassador to the United Nations has called for an immediate ceasefire.
Continued fierce fighting was reported from the Omdurman areas near the Engineers Corps in El Muhandisin, south of the El Shaabi Market, and the industrial zone yesterday.
Radio Dabanga received conflicting information about RSF control of the Engineers Corps and has not been able to verify the reports so far.
In central Khartoum, the RSF continued its shelling of the SAF General Command, as the army attacked RSF positions in southern Khartoum.
Sporadic clashes were reported from the Armoured Corps in El Shajara in western Khartoum and from El Kadaro and Hattab in Khartoum North.
Researcher Mohamed Abbas stated on February 4 that a “critical turning point in the Sudanese conflict” has been reached as the SAF continued to gain ground in Omdurman. The Sudan War Monitor said that day that these gains may be an “over exaggeration and likely pro-SAF propaganda”.
On Sunday, SAF-RSF fighting in the town of Babanousa in West Kordofan also continued, aggravating the suffering of the people there.
“The communications blackout enabled the belligerents to conceal their crimes against civilians,” a local source told Radio Dabanga. “We have been cut off from the world for three days. Even the hospitals that are still open, are unable to provide services. Many patients have died.”
The head of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council and SAF Commander Lt Gen Abdel Fattah El Burhan denied the occurrence of a coup within the army during the past days. “These claims are false and delusional,” he said in his address to members of the 19th Infantry Division in El Debba in Northern State on Sunday.
“The Sudanese army has not been and will not be defeated,” he claimed. “The nation’s battle against the terrorist militia of [RSF Commander] Dagalo is a battle of dignity. The armed forces are not fighting alone. The Sudanese people are fighting with them, supporting them and rallying around them,” he said, pledging to fight “until victory, for the dignity of this people and their armed forces”.
He accused the RSF of “killing and looting while asking organisations to provide humanitarian aid.
“Yet, this will only happen after this war has stopped, and the criminal rebels have been defeated and have withdrawn from the homes of citizens, government and service institutions, and from all the cities they occupied and plundered, Nyala, El Geneina, Wad Madani, and Khartoum, and have returned all the loot”.
RSF Commander Lt Gen Mohamed ‘Hemedti’ Dagalo said in an audio recording yesterday evening that he left Khartoum two months ago “to bring peace” and accused the army of “choosing to continue the path of war”.
In the end of December, he left Sudan to visit several African countries, after the Horn of Africa Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) had convinced El Burhan to meet face-to-face with Hemedti to discuss an end to the war – though the Sudanese Foreign Affairs Ministry denied the agreement hours after IGAD announced the news.
Hemedti said he would return to the battlefield soon, and congratulated the RSF soldiers on what he described as victories in El Mohandesin in Omdurman and Babanousa.
The RSF commander renewed his accusation of the army of starting the war, indicating that the RSF paramilitaries are only defending themselves. He called on his forces to step up combat operations. They should also protect civilians and share food and medicine with them. RSF members committing crimes against civilians are to be prosecuted immediately.
‘Sanctions are not enough’
Linda Thomas Greenfield, US ambassador to the UN, told the US National Public Radio (NPR) after her recent visit to Darfur refugees in eastern Chad that “the most important step that any of us can take right now is to get these two generals to sit down at the negotiating table and negotiate a peaceful solution with civilians at the table with them”.
Asked about the impact of the US sanctions imposed on some of Sudan’s warring parties’ commercial companies, she said that “I think the sanctions are having an impact on them. They certainly are aware. When I announced some of the visa restrictions when I was in Chad, they responded very, very quickly to that.
“But again, as you’ve noted, it has not stopped them from trying to fight because they both think that there’s a military solution to this situation. And we know that the military will not be able to resolve this situation.
“So, we are working hard to push for negotiations, to push for more civilian engagement on this but at the same time trying to address the dire humanitarian situation that Sudanese citizens are experiencing,” the US ambassador to the UN stated.