By Arun Kumar Shrivastav
Fierce fighting between Sudan’s military factions has been ongoing and continued for a second day, resulting in dozens of casualties across the country. Reports suggest that the clashes began with months of tensions between the country’s army and a paramilitary group. Battles have erupted in several parts of Sudan, including near the army headquarters and the presidential palace in the capital Khartoum, the eastern city of Port Sudan, and the western Darfur region.
The Central Committee of Sudan Doctors reported that at least 56 people were killed and nearly 600 injured in the violence. The WHO reports that more than 83 people have been killed and at least 1,126 injured across Khartoum, South Kordofan, North Darfur, Northern State, and other regions since April 13. Unconfirmed reports have put the number of killed at near 200.
Witnesses have described a situation of terror, with explosions and bullets ringing out across the city, and armed men from the army roaming inside hospitals with their weapons. Sudan’s paramilitary chief, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, claimed that his Rapid Support Forces (RSF) had taken control of the Meroe airport in the north of the country, as well as the presidential palace, Khartoum airport, and the General Command headquarters. The military leader, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has denied Dagalo’s claims, and there has been no independent verification of either side’s statements.
This political chaos started after a military coup led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, former head of the Transitional Military Council (TMC). The military seized power just a few weeks before the scheduled transition to civilian rule, sending shockwaves throughout the international community. Taking place in the early hours of the morning, saw the presidential palace in Khartoum surrounded by tanks and heavily armed soldiers. The country’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was reportedly arrested, along with several other civilian leaders.
Before the latest coup in Sudan, the government was a transitional government, established after the overthrow of former President Omar al-Bashir in 2019. The transitional government was headed by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and included both civilian and military representatives. However, the transitional government has been working towards democratic reforms and improving the country’s economic situation.
The coup has been widely condemned by the international community, with the United Nations, the African Union, and the European Union all issuing statements calling for a return to civilian rule. The UN has also called for the immediate release of all detained civilian leaders.
The military has defended the coup, claiming that it was necessary to prevent the country from descending into chaos. General al-Burhan stated that the coup was carried out “to save the country from corruption, chaos, and the danger of civil war.”
However, the coup has been met with widespread protests across the country, with many people taking to the streets to demand the return of civilian rule. The military has responded with force, and there have been reports of violence against civilians, including the use of tear gas, live ammunition, and other forms of repression.
The situation in Sudan has been further complicated by the country’s economic crisis. Having been struggling with hyperinflation, a shortage of basic goods, and a lack of foreign currency. The economic crisis has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has further strained the country’s already weak healthcare system.
The United States has responded to the coup by imposing sanctions on Sudan, while the UK and Canada have suspended aid to the country. The African Union has also suspended Sudan’s membership.
The crisis has also highlighted the country’s deep-seated divisions, which have been exacerbated by years of conflict and political turmoil. Sudan has been wracked by civil war for decades, with multiple factions vying for power and control. The recent coup has only served to deepen these divisions and further polarize the country.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged all parties to the conflict to respect the neutrality of health care and to ensure unrestricted access to health facilities for those injured by the hostilities.
It has also highlighted shortages of specialized medical personnel, including anesthesiologists, and a lack of water, power, and fuel for hospital generators, which have been affecting the functionality of health facilities. The fighting has caused international alarm, with Sudan’s former Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok calling for immediate negotiations to avoid slipping into civil war. The US and UN have also called for an end to the fighting, and African leaders are holding emergency meetings in response to the situation.
Sudan is a country located in North Africa, with a population of around 45 million people. It is the third-largest country in Africa by area, after Algeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Sudan has a relatively low GDP per capita, estimated to be around $4,500 in 2021. (IPA Service)