Sudan army clashes with RSF and SPLM-N El Hilu in South Kordofan

A soldier at Kadugli's airstrip during a security commitee meeting in 2011 (file photo: Tim Freccia / Enough Project)

DELLING / KADUGLI – July 18, 2023

The army and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) clashed in South Kordofan over the weekend. Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) troops were ambushed around Delling and some were killed. The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North led by Abdelaziz El Hilu (SPLM-N El Hilu) and the army also continued fighting around Delling and the capital Kadugli. The rebel movement took control of an oil field.

RSF troops ambushed a force from the SAF garrison in Delling on Sunday morning, just north of the town. An unknown number of army soldiers were killed and wounded.

Sources told Radio Dabanga that the army force was stationed about 20 kilometres northwest of Delling. As they boarded three vehicles with the intention to withdraw further, they were ambushed.

The ambush led to the dispersal of the force. Those killed and wounded were transferred to the Delling Hospital. The RSF seized one military vehicle.

An RSF unit also clashed with an army force that moved from Delling to the village of El Farshaya to evacuate the force stationed there.

Sources from El Farshaya reported that heavy clashes were heard in the area near the village on Saturday evening.

They could not tell if the fighting caused casualties but said that RSF troops killed a man on his farm in the vicinity of the village.

SPLM-N El Hilu

Fighting between the SAF and the SPLM-N El Hilu continued yesterday in the area southeast of Kadugli. They have been fighting for five consecutive days.

The clashes forced many people living near the military sites to flee, either to the northern part of the Kadugli or beyond.

People from Kadugli told Radio Dabanga that both parties used heavy weapons in the fierce fighting that took place in Belenga, near the southern part of the city, yesterday morning.

“Missiles launched by the SPLM-N, including from Gard Dalouka, hit the site of the 14th Infantry division and the adjacent neighbourhoods,” they reported.

One person was injured on Saturday morning when an artillery shell fell in front of his house. “The site of the 14th Division southeast of the city was bombarded with Katyusha shells, which led to the injury of a person.”

SPLM-N rebels in Sudan (File photo: Kalou Kaka / Wikimedia Commons)

Sources to Radio Dabanga from Delling that the SPLM-N El Hilu took control of the Karkaraya crude oil pumping station, 12 kilometres south of Delling, on Saturday.

The sources said that the force took control of the station without resistance after the army battalion present at the station withdrew.

“The SPLM force stationed at the Karkaraya station notified the workers to return and practice their work normally, which they did,” one person said.

Siddig Tawir, a leading member of the Sudanese regional branch of the Socialist Arab Ba’ath Party and a former member of the Sovereignty Council, has appealed to El Hilu to stop the attacks on army sites in South Kordofan.

The SAF is based in Kadugli, with units deployed in Arit (near Lagawa), Buram, Delling (Karkaraya village), Heiban, Julud, Talodi, and Um Sirdeiba.

In an open letter to the rebel commander, he said that if the motive behind this escalation is to protect the people in the Nuba Mountains from a possible West Darfur scenario, “this cannot be achieved by returning the region again to the war box”.

“An escalation under the current circumstances will disrupt agricultural activity in the region and will negatively affect trade, transport, mobility, and the availability of necessary supplies, in addition to affecting basic services.”


Traffic returned on the Delling-Kadugli road on Sunday after it was closed for several days due to battles between the army and the SPLM-N.

“The bus movement between Delling and Kadugli returned, but in a less than usual way,” a source reported.

He explained that the traffic is limited to civilian vehicles, while army vehicles remain inside Delling, triggering great fear among the residents about an imminent attack on the town itself by the rebel combatants from the south or by the RSF from the north.