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Paramilitary forces (RSF) captured South Darfur state, marking major turn in war, and are expected to push forward in Darfur and Kordofan in coming weeks.
RSF captured South Darfur amid series of battlefield victories. RSF scored major victories against army in Darfur region. Most notably, paramilitary 27 Oct seized army’s 16th Infantry Division in South Darfur capital Nyala, leading to total conquest of state. Elsewhere, RSF 31 Oct captured 21st Infantry Division of army in Central Darfur state capital Zalingei, and by late Oct was moving on army positions in West Darfur and North Darfur state capitals; despite North Darfur state governor and Darfur regional governor urging RSF to halt advance, paramilitary could seek to overtake army garrisons in these state capitals in coming weeks in bid to capture entire region from army. This risks dragging members of Juba Peace Agreement signatories (who until now have remained neutral) into confrontation with paramilitary forces. Hostilities in capital Khartoum, meanwhile, continued unabated.
RSF gained ground in West Kordofan as conflict spread to new fronts. In West Kordofan state, RSF 30 Oct seized Baleela airport and oilfield; forces expected to advance on remaining army garrisons across state in coming weeks in bid to take full control of region. Elsewhere, RSF expanded into White Nile State while army mobilised in Sudan’s south east and east, with new recruits headed for Khartoum allegedly reaching border towns between Gezira State and capital. In response, RSF deployed to Gezira in attempt to cut off crucial supply route for army. Meanwhile, army battled with rebel group Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) in South Kordofan state; notably, SPLM-N 9 Oct attacked army positions in Delling town, taking control of area.
Jeddah talks resumed. U.S.-Saudi-brokered talks 28 Oct resumed in Saudi city Jeddah, with Intergovernmental Authority on Development and African Union acting as co-facilitators; civilian representatives yet to be invited. Initial rounds will not deal with political issues, but instead focus on humanitarian aid deliveries and negotiations related to ceasefire; major RSF advances, however, dampened hopes for progress on ceasefire agreement.
Fighting between army and paramilitary forces continued in Khartoum and Darfur, killing highest number of civilians in one month since fighting erupted; army leader conducted regional tour.
RSF battled for control of Khartoum. Fighting in Khartoum and sister city Omdurman continued as paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) sought to fully conquer capital, 16-18 Sept launching well-coordinated attacks on remaining army bases. Army responded with intensified airstrikes, resulting in high civilian casualties; notably, shelling 5 Sept killed over 30 in Omdurman and alleged army drone 10 Sept killed around 50 in Khartoum. After Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Burhan’s escape from capital late Aug, army announced plans to form emergency govt in Port Sudan; army walked back plans following wide opposition from various actors including civilians and instead late Sept announced reshuffle to various ministries.
RSF-army clashes raged in Darfur, rebel group expanded foothold further east. Having captured most of West Darfur, RSF concentrated its assault on army in North and South Darfur, with latter’s state capital Nyala witnessing most intense fighting outside Khartoum. Army’s indiscriminate airstrikes caused scores of civilian casualties in mostly Arab-populated areas, with shelling 13 Sept killing at least 40. In South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, rebel group Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North continued to expand its foothold, emerging as third major force in conflict. Meanwhile, army and tribal militia known as Forces of the Eastern Sudan Parties and Movements Alliance 18 Sept clashed in Port Sudan over control of security checkpoints.
Burhan met with number of regional leaders. Burhan continued regional tour among countries seen to support army before 21 Sept addressing UN General Assembly in New York. Efforts to restart talks faced more setbacks. Notably, Ministry of Foreign Affairs 8 Sept reiterated rejection of Kenyan-led Intergovernmental Authority on Development mediation, while Burhan 9 Sept rejected African Union’s (AU) mediation after AU Commission Chairperson Musa Faki 3 Sept met RSF special envoy Yousif Izzat. Meanwhile, U.S. 6 Sept sanctioned prominent RSF leaders, which could dissuade group from mediation process involving U.S., 28 Sept levied additional sanctions against prominent pro-Bashir politician and two companies supporting RSF.
Army chief fled Khartoum as fighting in capital raged on, inter-ethnic clashes flared in Darfur, and tribal mobilisation threatened stability in east.
Army leader fled Khartoum amid heavy fighting. Hostilities between Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) continued in Khartoum, with RSF attacking SAF military bases and SAF conducting airstrikes and firing artillery. Notably, SAF early Aug targeted Shambat bridge, key RSF supply line to sister cities Omdurman and Bahri; SAF and RSF 20-23 Aug battled over Armoured Corps base in Al-Shajara neighbourhood, SAF’s only remaining stronghold in capital besides headquarters. Meanwhile, army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan 24 Aug escaped headquarters after months-long RSF siege, subsequently visiting regional bases and Port Sudan before 29 Aug travelling to Egypt for talks.
RSF-SAF clashes in Darfur enflamed intercommunal conflicts. RSF 4 Aug claimed it had defeated SAF in Central Darfur, which SAF denied; in South Darfur, fighting between SAF and RSF throughout month killed scores and displaced 50,000 from state capital Nyala; and in North Darfur, fighting 17 Aug resumed in state capital El-Fasher. SAF-RSF fighting exacerbated intercommunal conflicts, particularly in South Darfur; notably, Salamat and Beni Halba tribes throughout month clashed in Kubum locality; rival Reizigat clans fought in and around Nyala. Meanwhile, media outlet The New Humanitarian 15 Aug reported testimonies of Darfuri refugees in Chad alleging RSF attacks on non-Arab civilians, especially Masalit, fleeing region.
Tribal mobilisation in east threatened stability, fighting continued in Kordofan. In eastern Sudan, RSF late July accused former President Bashir’s National Congress Party and Islamists in military of arming tribal militias, prompting number of Arab tribes to join RSF in Aug. In North Kordofan state, SAF 1 Aug clashed with RSF near Umm Ruwaba city. In South Kordofan state, rebel group Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North continued targeting SAF positions, notably in state capital Kadugli and Dalami town.
Burhan rejected RSF call for negotiations. Amid stalled external mediation efforts, RSF 27 Aug expressed willingness for talks and presented ten-point plan for “lasting peace”; Burhan next day rejected initiative.
Paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) gained upper hand in Khartoum amid heavy fighting with army, Darfur witnessed high levels of ethnic targeting, and diplomatic disarray hindered peace efforts.
RSF entrenched its superior position in capital Khartoum as war intensified. Fighting continued to escalate between army under Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Burhan and RSF led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemedti” as conflict 24 July turned 100 days old. RSF gained upper hand in capital Khartoum and sister city Bahri, seizing control of strategic sites as army suffered significant battlefield losses. Notably, RSF 15 July repelled major army offensive trying to break its two-month siege of army headquarters in Bahri. Paramilitary’s momentum prompted speculation it could soon win war for Khartoum.
Darfur region saw high levels of ethnic targeting. Amid fighting between army and RSF in various areas of Darfur, South and West Darfur states witnessed numerous attacks on civilians, notably perpetrated by RSF and affiliated tribal militias on members of other ethnic groups. In West Darfur, epicentre of ethnic conflict involving Arab Rizeigat (from which most RSF personnel come) and non-Arab Masalit tribes, UN 13 July reported bodies of at least 87 Masalit had been discovered in mass grave; International Criminal Court same day launched investigation of alleged war crimes in Darfur. In South Darfur, RSF 18 July seized control of Kaas town, displacing thousands.
Fighting continued in Kordofan states and spilled into Blue Nile state. After settling into uneasy stalemate, hostilities between army and RSF 20 July resumed in North Kordofan state capital, El Obeid. In South Kordofan state, rebel group Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North throughout July clashed with army, reportedly taking control of several towns and pushing into Blue Nile, where sides notably fought around al-Kurmuk locality.
Competing mediation tracks failed to yield results. Various, uncoordinated diplomatic initiatives continued throughout month, producing little. Notably, regional bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development 10 July convened talks, calling for end to war, while Egypt 13 July hosted leaders from Sudan’s neighbouring countries, announcing its own initiative with the same goal. Meanwhile, army conveyed several messages hinting at interest in talks, while Hemedti 28 July said he would reach peace deal with army “in 72 hours” if it replaces leadership.
Conflict between Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and army escalated as mediation efforts failed, with fighting drawing in other armed groups and Darfur witnessing worst violence since civil war.
Fighting intensified in Khartoum and Kordofan states, drawing in rebel group. Army continued aerial bombardment of RSF-controlled areas of capital Khartoum, including residential and commercial neighbourhoods; notably, air attack 17 June killed at least 17. In North Kordofan state, where RSF and army fought over state capital El-Obeid, RSF 3 June reportedly killed over 50 civilians in al-Humaira village. Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) 8 June reportedly mobilised in South Kordofan state, raising fears conflict could spread southward. Army 21 June accused SPLM-N of attacking army unit in South Kordofan’s capital Kadugli; SPLM-N and RSF same day reportedly attacked army in al-Dalanj city. In first reported fighting in Blue Nile state, residents 26 June said SPLM-N attacked Kurmuk city.
Ethnic conflict escalated in Darfur. Violence in June killed or displaced thousands in Darfur as conflict took on ethnic dimension involving Arab Rizeigat and non-Arab Masalit tribes. RSF 14 June allegedly killed West Darfur state governor after he accused RSF of genocide. In North Darfur state, fighting 2-3 June reportedly killed over 40 civilians in Kutum town, with renewed clashes reported 22 June in state capital Al Fashir. Clashes 20-25 June reportedly escalated in South Darfur’s state capital Nyala, killing at least 25. Violence risks drawing in other tribal militias including from neighbouring Chad.
Conflict raised risk of state failure. Hostilities led to breakdown of governance, law and order, and economic collapse. Meanwhile, UN agencies 2 June reported increasingly “desperate” situation for civilians as rainy season started, which could complicate relief efforts.
Various mediation tracks struggled to gain traction. U.S. and Saudi Arabia-brokered 72-hour ceasefire 20 Jun broke down; U.S. next day adjourned Jeddah talks, saying format was “not succeeding”. Warring parties 26-27 June announced ceasefires for Eid al-Adha holiday, but fighting continued. Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) leaders 12 June met in Djibouti, adopting roadmap for conflict’s resolution; army 15 June opposed Kenya taking lead, jeopardising track. African Union’s late May roadmap for peace failed to make progress. Competing mediation tracks risk hindering efforts to resolve crisis.
Fighting between army and paramilitary force escalated in Khartoum and Darfur, where growing involvement of tribal militias and armed groups raises risk of all-out civil war; various mediation initiatives failed to halt violence.
Hostilities intensified in and around Khartoum. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan’s Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Mohamed “Hemedti” Hamdan Dagalo’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) fought over strategic sites in capital Khartoum and sister cities Omdurman and Bahri as conflict escalated; SAF pounded cities with heavy artillery and aerial bombardment, while RSF used guerrilla warfare and ground-to-air missiles. Fighting also continued in North Kordofan state capital El Obeid, but subsided in Kassala, Red Sea, Gedaref and Blue Nile states. Both forces faced internal challenges: SAF’s inability to defeat RSF created discontent within its ranks, raising fears of mutiny; RSF’s reputation worsened further, with its leaders unable to prevent troops from looting and vandalising property as reports of rape also emerged.
Fighting surged in Darfur, fuelling intercommunal tensions. RSF intensified attacks in Darfur region as it sought control of major cities, possibly to strengthen negotiating position. Conflict aggravated intercommunal tensions, especially between Rezigat and Masalit groups, leading to frequent clashes. Notably, intercommunal violence 12-13 May in West Darfur state capital el-Geneina killed at least 280 people and displaced thousands. Reports late May emerged of armed militias laying siege to Zalengei town, Central Darfur state. Governor of Darfur and leader of Sudan Liberation Army/Movement Minni Minnawi 28 May called on Darfuris to arm themselves in light of region’s growing lawlessness. Continued hostilities risk entangling more tribal groups, including from neighbouring countries, making risk of all-out civil war in Darfur very high.
SAF and RSF held talks in Jeddah amid competing mediation tracks. Despite AU attempts to ensure coordinated mediation process, stakeholders initiated several and at times competing negotiating tracks. Most notably, South Sudan spearheaded Intergovernmental Authority on Development regional bloc’s mediation efforts (see South Sudan), while U.S.-Saudi-brokered talks 6 May began in Saudi Arabian city Jeddah. Both tracks produced agreements, but with little change on the ground, civilians continued to bear brunt, with well over 800 killed and 1.4mn displaced as of 29 May amid escalating humanitarian crisis.
Fighting erupted between army and paramilitary force, killing hundreds and triggering humanitarian crisis; conflict could slide into all-out war, drawing in new actors and spilling into neighbouring countries.
Deadly fighting broke out between rival security forces. Longstanding power struggle between Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who leads Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), and Mohamed “Hemedti” Hamdan Dagalo, who controls paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), 15 April descended into violent clashes in capital Khartoum, derailing transition toward restored civilian rule. Hostilities came amid rising tensions over negotiations to merge RSF into army, notably regarding timeline and leadership structure of integrated force. Fighting spread across country, notably to North, Central, West and South Darfur, North Kordofan, Kassala, Gedarif, Red Sea states. Army seized control of number of cities, including Kassala and Port Sudan in east, while RSF had upper hand in Darfur. In most other places, particularly Khartoum, momentum swung back and forth.
Fighting precipitated humanitarian crisis. Hostilities killed hundreds of civilians while millions in Khartoum remained trapped amid food, water and electricity shortages. Dozens of hospitals across Sudan shuttered due to fighting and dwindling supplies, while looting and vandalism were widespread. World Food Programme 16 April suspended operations after three employees were killed in North Darfur. As of 28 April, UN refugee agency estimated over 50,000 people had fled to neighbouring countries.
Mediation efforts failed to halt fighting. International actors called for end to hostilities, while Intergovernmental Authority on Development 16 April appointed Kenyan, South Sudanese and Djibouti presidents to broker ceasefire. Successive attempts to enforce humanitarian truces 18, 19, 21 April failed as foreign govts scrambled to evacuate citizens. U.S. and Saudi Arabia brokered 72-hour ceasefire starting 25 April, extended several times. With sides fighting on despite ceasefires, however, conflict risks descending into protracted civil war that draws in other armed groups and communal militias; in West Darfur state, there were indications tribal militias were already being drawn in. Risk of spillover into neighbouring countries or involvement of regional players also high, particularly due to presence of cross-border militias.
Civilians announced ambitious timeline for transition to civilian rule, “Phase II” negotiations continued at slow pace, and tensions between military leaders reached worrying heights.
Civilian leaders announced ambitious timeline for transition. Civilian groups that signed Dec 2022 Framework Agreement, as well as military and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), 19 March convened in capital Khartoum, along with Trilateral Mechanism led by UN Mission in Sudan, African Union and Intergovernmental Authority on Development. Civilian leaders announced ambitious timeline to sign final agreement on political transition by 1 April, adopt transitional constitution 6 April and form civilian transitional govt 11 April; they also formed 11-member committee composed of nine pro-democracy leaders, one army representative and one RSF representative to draft final agreement on political transition by 27 March, but committee missed deadline, indicating (along with other signs, such as stalled “Phase II” negotiations, see below) that political impasse could drag on.
“Phase II” negotiations dragged on. “Phase II” consultations among civilian groups on outstanding issues, including transitional justice and security sector reform, continued. Notably, Trilateral Mechanism 11-18 March organised workshops on transitional justice in South Kordofan state, Darfur region and Khartoum. Key stakeholders who reject Framework Agreement, including FFC-Democratic Bloc, Democratic Unionist Party and traditional leaders such as Beja chief Sayed Tirik, continued to boycott process, hampering progress.
Tensions between Burhan and Hemedti spiked. Longstanding tensions between army chief and de facto head of state Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Sovereign Council deputy and RSF leader Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemedti” escalated, fanning fears of civil war as leaders early March mobilised respective forces in and around Khartoum. Hemedti 7 March criticised military leaders for clinging to power, deepening crisis. Burhan and Hemedti 11 March met in Khartoum, agreeing to de-escalate tensions and establish joint committee to oversee security throughout country.
In other important developments. Sudan 9 March opened border with Central African Republic after two-month closure. According to UN humanitarian agency, tribal clashes 23 March erupted in West Darfur state, killing six and forcing 30,000 to flee to neighbouring Chad.
“Phase II” negotiations to restore civilian rule struggled to make headway as manoeuvring by Egypt and South Sudan risked further complicating transition; Israel sought to advance normalisation.
Phase II negotiations to resolve outstanding issues and restore civilian rule stalled. Trilateral mechanism led by African Union (AU), UN mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) 31 Jan-3 Feb organised workshop on controversial Juba Peace Agreement (JPA); JPA signatories, who reject December Framework Agreement, boycotted meeting; Quad – U.S., UK, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) – mid-month offered to facilitate talks amid standoff between JPA signatories and main opposition group Forces for Freedom and Change-Central Council (FCC-CC). Meanwhile, number of tribal representatives 12-15 Feb attended conference on crisis in eastern Sudan, but some Beja chieftains boycotted meeting. FFC-CC throughout month held closed meetings on transitional justice and security sector reform to address internal divisions before negotiating with military.
Egypt hosted parallel conference rejecting Framework Agreement. In move widely viewed as attempt to increase Egypt’s role in negotiations and secure its interests in Sudan, Cairo 2-7 Feb organised parallel conference on transitional period. Egypt claimed meeting would complement trilateral mechanism, but did not invite UN, AU or IGAD. FFC-CC rejected invitation, accusing Egypt of derailing transition to civilian govt. Over 80 representatives participated, mostly from FFC-Democratic Block, National Movement Forces and Alliance of the Revolution Committees, as well as UAE, South Sudan, U.S., and Arab League. Participants rejected Framework Agreement and 7 Feb outlined new proposals for sovereign council and announced new alliance, National Democratic Forces Coordination.
South Sudan hosted parallel meeting on implementation of JPA. South Sudan 13-19 Feb hosted conference in its capital Juba to discuss JPA implementation. Sudanese military and 13 rebel groups that signed JPA attended but Juba did not invite FFC-CC, which demands amendments to JPA. Participants 19 Feb signed implementation matrix for original JPA, ignoring civilian demands for revision.
In other important developments. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Israeli FM Eli Cohen 2 Feb agreed to move toward normalising relations; scores 6 Feb protested agreement in capital Khartoum. Russian FM Sergei Lavrov 8-9 Feb visited Sudan to garner support against Western sanctions levied against Russia over war in Ukraine.
Efforts to install civilian govt continued with launch of “Phase II” negotiations, armed groups formed joint military force in Darfur, and security issues emerged at border with Central African Republic.
Phase II negotiations on political transition produced mixed results, notably with eastern leaders. Following Dec Framework Agreement between military and dozens of civilian leaders on transition to civilian rule, “Phase II” negotiations 9 Jan began, focusing on transitional justice, security sector reform, Juba Peace Agreement, status of ex-regime dismantling committee and crisis in eastern Sudan. Parties 12 Jan concluded talks on dismantling ousted Bashir regime, agreeing to reinstate disbanded Empowerment Removal Committee with new members. However, significant obstacles on other outstanding issues persisted. Notably, eastern Sudan tribal leader Mohamed al-Amin Terik 1 Jan rejected framework agreement along with other Beja Tribal leaders who 15 Jan announced parallel platform to address eastern Sudan governance; Terik warned region may seek self-determination if final agreement for transition period fails to address their priorities. Forces for Freedom and Change-Central Council (FFC-CC) 19 Jan agreed that Trilateral Mechanism including UN mission in Sudan, African Union and Intergovernmental Authority on Development would organise negotiations on east Sudan governance as well as review of Juba Peace Agreement, which Beja chieftains rejected.
Military announced creation of joint security force in Darfur. Amid reports of renewed attacks on civilians and proliferation of armed militias in Darfur, Sudan Liberation Army 16 Jan announced formation of joint force with Rapid Support Forces and Sudan Liberation Forces “to end insecurity and restore order”; joint force excluded national army and other armed groups, including coalition of western Darfuri armed groups Sudanese Alliance.
Authorities shut land border with CAR, citing security concerns. Vice-Chairman of Sudan’s Transitional Sovereign Council Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemedti” 5 Jan formally announced closure of border with Central African Republic (CAR), warning Sudan-based rebels could seek to overthrow CAR President Touadéra (see Central African Republic). Authorities in following days deployed troops to border areas but, despite measures, over 1,000 Coalition of Patriots for Change rebels 24 Jan reportedly crossed border into CAR.
Military and civilian groups signed framework agreement, paving way for all-civilian govt to end political impasse; deal received mixed reactions.
Sudan’s military and key civilian actors signed deal to restore civilian rule. Following months of negotiations, major civilian political parties and other civil forces, mostly under main civilian opposition bloc Forces for Freedom and Change-Central Council (FFC-CC), 5 Dec signed “political framework” deal with military to install all-civilian govt, end political stalemate and initiate two-year transition period ending in elections. Transition period is to begin with appointment of PM, nominated by civilian signatories, after second phase of negotiations concludes. These negotiations will focus on five particularly sensitive issues, namely transitional justice, security sector reform, Juba Peace Agreement, status of ex-regime dismantling committee and crisis in eastern Sudan. They were set to conclude by end of Dec but have been postponed until 5 Feb.
Public opinion on agreement remained divided. Although agreement aims to end political role of military in Sudan, implementation faces significant challenges as military expects their power to remain unchecked and deal is not yet supported by wider public or number of key stakeholders. Most notably, grassroots network Resistance Committees continues to reject deal and has vowed to sustain protests in capital Khartoum; three 2020 Juba Peace Agreement signatories also opposed deal. Still, over 50 political and civil groups week after deal was signed submitted request to sign agreement, which FFC-CC is reviewing to ensure none are affiliates of Bashir-era ruling National Congress Party.
Violence persisted in West Kordofan and South Darfur. Clashes between Humer and Misseriya groups over cattle rustlers 10-11 Dec killed at least 30 in Abu Koa area, West Kordofan state. Clashes between Arab herders, Daju farmers and other groups 21-23 Dec left at least 11 dead and around 16,000 people displaced in villages outside Nyala state capital, South Darfur.
In other important developments. UN humanitarian agency 14 Dec released 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan noting that 15.8mn people, almost one third of country’s population, will need humanitarian assistance next year. Meanwhile, relations with Ethiopia continued to improve, with both sides 24 Dec signing cooperation agreement on peace and security issues.
Military-civilian negotiations made progress amid tensions between international mediators, authorities cracked down on Islamist groups, and violence flared in Central Darfur.
Military-civilian forces advanced toward transition deal. Main civilian opposition bloc Forces for Freedom and Change-Central Council (FFC-CC) 16 Nov announced they had reached “framework agreement” with military on most critical issues to restore democratic transition; dialogue officially mediated by Trilateral Mechanism led by UN mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), African Union (AU), and Intergovernmental Authority on Development also quietly facilitated by Quad countries (U.S., UK, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia). Parties consented to second phase of negotiations to resolve outstanding issues and produce final deal.
AU bristled at “external interference” in negotiations. AU Special Envoy for Sudan Mohamed Belaiche 2 Nov denounced “external interference” in Trilateral Mechanism by Quad countries, whom he accused of publicly supporting trilateral process while undermining it through parallel negotiation process. Remarks point to breakdown between Quad and Trilateral process in coordination on Sudan. Quad countries say their initiative supports Trilateral Mechanism since FFC-military disagreement was primary obstacle when trilateral negotiations stalled in June.
Concerns grew over resurgence of Bashir-era Islamist groups. Following late Oct alleged coup attempt that fractured alliance between military and Islamist groups, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan 6 Nov warned that Islamist groups should refrain from interfering in military affairs. Authorities subsequently conducted several high-profile arrests; notably, authorities 9 Nov re-arrested former President Omar al-Bashir; 14 Nov arrested leaders of newly formed Patriotic Entity Forces, allegedly affiliated with Islamist groups, 19 Nov released them. Al-Burhan 28 Nov suspended activities of trade unions, reportedly to curb Islamists’ influence.
Violence killed dozens in Central Darfur, clashes persisted in West Kordofan. In Central Darfur, clashes 11-13 Nov between Misseriya and Awlad Rashid clans of Rezeigat tribe near Juguma village reportedly killed 48 and displaced thousands; clashes 19 Nov between rival factions of Sudan Liberation Army–Abdel Wahid (SLA/AW) left 13 dead in Shamal Jabal Marrah locality. Renewed fighting in En Nehoud locality in West Kordofan 19-20 Nov left six dead.
Intercommunal clashes killed hundreds in Blue Nile state and forced thousands to flee; transition remained fragile as news of “imminent” civilian-military deal prompted mixed reactions and violent street protests continued.
Intercommunal violence killed hundreds in Blue Nile state. UN humanitarian office 17 Oct reported that killing of two Hamaji people over land dispute 13 Oct “led to clashes between the Hausa community and other tribes” 13-16 Oct, killing at least 13 in Wad al-Mahi and Al-Rusyaris areas of Blue Nile State. Fighting 19-20 Oct escalated once more, reportedly killing over 250 in Wad al-Mahi, injuring over 500 and forcing around 7,000 to flee. State governor 21 Oct declared state of emergency for 30 days while military 24 Oct named new commander for Blue Nile state. Hundreds 23 Oct protested violence and lack of strong security response in state capital Damazin. In West Kordofan state, clashes between Misseriya and Nuba groups over land dispute 13-15 Oct killed at least 19 in Lagawa town.
Military-civilian forces made progress toward transition deal, but some groups decried process. Military and main civilian opposition bloc Forces for Freedom and Change-Central Council (FFC-CC) engaged in talks mediated by “Quad” (U.S., UK, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates) over Sudanese Bar Association’s proposal for draft constitution to restore democratic transition, 12 Oct confirming reaching agreement on several issues. Other opposition groups criticised process. Notably, talks did not include Resistance Committees, driving force behind ongoing street protests, who have rejected negotiations with military; deal could thus weaken what remains of revolution that toppled Omar al-Bashir in 2019. Meanwhile, at least 54 resistance committees 5 Oct approved unified political charter calling for resignation of military leaders from power and implementation of new transitional constitution and legislative council.
Resistance Committees escalated anti-military protests. Coordination of Resistance Committees in Khartoum state escalated protests to mark one-year anniversary of military coup, with demonstrations 21-23, 25, 30 Oct held across major cities. Some protests turned violent as security forces cracked down on protestors, leaving two dead in Omdurman and Khartoum cities on 23 and 25 Oct respectively.
Tensions over return to civilian transition persisted amid signs of growing rivalry between military leaders; intercommunal clashes erupted in Blue Nile and West Kordofan states.Sudan Bar Association delivered proposal to restore democratic transition. Sudan Bar Association 7 Sept presented final draft of transitional constitution, designed to help restore country’s democratic transition. Proposal calls for civilian cabinet and civilian-led national security council that includes military officers. Trilateral African Union (AU)-UN mission in Sudan (UNITAMS)-Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) mechanism 10 Sept welcomed proposal, as did European Union, U.S. and European embassies on 12 Sept, though fractures remain between pro-democracy groups over readiness to negotiate with military. Public prosecutor 25 Sept called in head of Sudanese Bar Association steering committee for questioning and ordered seizure of headquarters.Tensions grew between military leaders over return to civilian transition. VP of Transitional Sovereign Council and Commander of paramilitary Rapid Support Forces Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemedti” 16 Sept reiterated military’s commitment to withdraw from politics and hand over power to civilian govt. In sign of growing rivalry between Hemedti and army chief and de facto head of state Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Burhan’s media adviser next day appeared to push back on Hemedti’s comments by stating army would not hand over power except to govt “agreed upon by all Sudanese”, indicating reluctance to cede power. Meanwhile, thousands 13 Sept protested against military rule in capital Khartoum and again on 29 Sept in Khartoum, Wad Madani, Nyala, Dongola and Atbara cities.Intercommunal violence flared in Blue Nile and West Kordofan states. In Blue Nile state, clashes involving Hausa and Blue Nile communities 1-4 Sept reportedly killed 23 and injured 44 around East Ganis village and Roseires town. State media 8 Sept reported over 21,000 people had fled violence. In West Kordofan, clashes over border demarcation in Abu Zabad town between Hamar tribe and Misseriya tribe 10-12 Sept killed at least six; tribal leaders 19 Sept signed agreement to end fighting. Meanwhile, authorities 15 Sept announced floods killed at least 20 in previous week, bringing total death toll since beginning of rainy season to 134.
Amid ongoing anti-coup protests, impasse between military and civilian actors persisted; violence persisted in Darfur, and tensions with Addis Ababa ran high amid renewed Tigray conflict in Ethiopia. Civilian actors in Aug failed to agree on path forward after de facto head of state, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, in July said army will step aside to make way for civilian govt. Meanwhile, al-Burhan-backed Sudan People’s Call initiative, led by religious Sufi leader Al-Tayeb Al-Jid, 13-14 Aug held roundtable conference gathering political figures affiliated with former ruling National Congress Party, as well as Egyptian, Saudi and African Union diplomats; political coalition Forces for Freedom and Change and grassroots network Resistance Committees boycotted event. Participants recommended would-be established Supreme Military Council (announced by al-Burhan in July) be given supreme authority, including sovereign powers, with technocratic cabinet assuming executive duties. Al-Burhan 25 Aug announced major reshuffling of military leadership. Anti-coup protests continued throughout month. Notably, security forces 6-7 Aug injured 23 protesters in capital Khartoum and twin city Omdurman; 25 Aug reportedly injured 18 and arrested at least 38 in Khartoum; 31 Aug killed one during protest march headed for Khartoum. Meanwhile, govt said Chadian gunmen 3-4 Aug killed 18 Sudanese herders in Beir Saliba and Ardeiba border towns, West Darfur state; Chadian military 6 Aug expressed regret, claimed nine Chadians also killed (see Chad). In North Darfur state, gunmen 15 Aug reportedly killed at least eight, kidnapped nine near Kutum town, allegedly in retaliation for killing of two in same area. Tensions increased with Addis Ababa amid renewed Tigray conflict in Ethiopia (see Ethiopia). Ethiopia’s forces 24 Aug claimed to have downed plane from Sudan carrying weapons for Tigray’s forces; Ethiopian ambassador to Sudan 29 Aug said Khartoum had “violated Ethiopian airspace”, prompting foreign ministry 31 Aug to summon ambassador. Addis Ababa 31 Aug accused Tigray forces of expanding fighting to new areas, notably border with Sudan, raising fears of conflict spilling into country.
Military withdrew from post-coup negotiations, calling on civilian groups to form govt and announcing new military council; intercommunal clashes in Blue Nile state killed over 100. In move likely aimed at shifting pressure onto civilian opponents, Transitional Sovereign Council Chair Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan 4 July announced military’s withdrawal from negotiations with civilian parties – mediated by UN, African Union and Intergovernmental Authority on Development –, called on civilian groups to form transitional govt. Burhan same day declared plans to establish “Supreme Council of the Armed Forces”, consisting of army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, to succeed Sovereign Council. RSF Head Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemedti” lent his support to Burhan’s announcements while civilian opposition groups denounced attempt to entrench military power. Notably, political coalition Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) 5 July dismissed al-Burhan’s speech as “tactical retreat” and urged continued resistance to coup. Divisions persisted within coalition, however: FFC leader Mohamed al-Faki 30 July told media outlet Sudan Tribune that FFC and other “revolutionary forces” were discussing new constitutional arrangements and would announce civilian PM within two weeks. Near-daily protests against military continued throughout month. Notably, thousands 2, 4 and 31 July demonstrated in capital Khartoum. In Omdurman city, security forces 21, 26 July reportedly killed two protesters. In Blue Nile state, intercommunal violence sparked by land dispute between Berti and Hausa communities 11 July erupted; at least 105 killed and 30,000 displaced over several days of clashes. Authorities 15-16 July declared state of emergency, deployed additional troops and imposed curfew. Tensions spread to other states, with Hausa protesters 18 July setting fire to govt buildings in Kassala. In capital Khartoum, security forces 19 July fired teargas at thousands of Hausa protesters calling for end to oppression of Hausa people. In South Darfur state, sporadic fighting 15-21 July between factions of Sudan Liberation Army in East Jebel Marra killed three and displaced thousands. After renewed violence in disputed al-Fashaga borderlands late June, al-Burhan 5 July met Ethiopian PM Abiy in Kenya; counterparts agreed to establish joint committee to resolve dispute. Khartoum 17 July reopened Gallabat border crossing, key trading route with Ethiopia.
Trilateral mechanism suspended direct talks between military and civilians, intercommunal violence killed over 120 people in West Darfur and military clashed with Ethiopian forces in disputed al-Fashaga area. Trilateral mechanism including UN mission in Sudan, AU and Intergovernmental Authority on Development 8 June facilitated direct talks between ruling military and civilian opposition groups, but main pro-democracy alliance Forces for Freedom and Change-Central Command (FFC-CC) boycotted meeting. U.S. and Saudi diplomats 9 June organised first informal meeting between FFC-CC and military since Oct 2021 coup; FFC-CC next day conditioned formal dialogue on military staying out of politics; amid impasse, trilateral mechanism 11 June indefinitely postponed second round of talks. Near-daily protests against military continued. Notably, thousands 3 June demonstrated across country on anniversary of 2019 crackdown on sit-in in capital Khartoum; mass protests also held 30 June in several cities. Security forces throughout month killed at least ten protesters, bringing death toll since coup to at least 110. In West Darfur state, fighting over land dispute between non-Arab Gimir and Arab Rizeigat communities 6-11 June killed at least 126 mostly Gimir people in Kulbus district, and left around 50,000 displaced; violence spread to North Darfur, with 13 ethnic Gimir villages allegedly attacked 7-10 June. Rizeigat and Misseriya tribes 18 June, and Arab and Massalit tribes 25 June signed reconciliation agreements in state capital El Geneina. In South Kordofan state, clashes between Kenana and Hawazma tribes 5-8 June reportedly killed at least 19 in Abu Jubayhah locality; clashes between Nuba and Baggara tribes 16 June killed five in state capital Kadugli. In Kassala state, intercommunal clashes between Bani Amer and Nuba communities 14-15 June reportedly killed at least five. Meanwhile, fighting erupted in disputed al-Fashaga zone bordering Ethiopia. Military 26 June said Ethiopian army 22 June executed seven Sudanese soldiers and one civilian, which Addis Ababa denied. Govt 27 June said it was recalling ambassador from Ethiopia and summoned Ethiopian ambassador to Sudan. Sudanese forces 27-28 June fired heavy artillery into al-Fashaga and claimed control of Jabal Kala al-Laban town.
As tripartite initiative aimed at fostering intra-Sudanese talks on restoring civilian-led transition began slowly, authorities lifted state of emergency and released some prisoners; repression of protests continued and insecurity persisted in several areas. UN mission in Sudan, African Union (AU) and Intergovernmental Authority on Development 12 May launched indirect intra-Sudanese talks with view to establishing common grounds between parties. Tripartite mechanism officials in following days held informal meetings with parties to 2020 Juba Peace Agreement, civil society organisations and political groups, including factions of political coalition Forces for Freedom and Change. AU Special Envoy Mohamed El Hacen Lebatt 13 May said military-civilian talks would follow at later stage. Meanwhile, Coordinating Committee of Khartoum state’s Resistance Committees 11 May adopted charter calling for peaceful overthrow of military, rejecting 2019 Constitutional Declaration and any talks with military, including within tripartite mechanism framework; 15 May however held informal talks with mechanism officials. Anti-coup protesters throughout month continued to face security forces crackdown, reportedly leaving at least five killed and over 200 wounded in capital Khartoum and other cities. Sovereign Council 29 May lifted state of emergency imposed after Oct 2021 coup, citing need to create atmosphere conducive to “fruitful and meaningful dialogue”; authorities next day released dozens of political prisoners. Violence early May subsided in West Darfur after deadly clashes late April in Kreinik and El Geneina areas reportedly displaced tens of thousands. In South Darfur state, unidentified gunmen 7 May reportedly killed three in Kalma camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs); 12 May reportedly killed one in Otash IDP camp in state capital Nyala. Following increased violence over past months in Abyei area disputed between Sudan and South Sudan, UN Security Council 12 May renewed mandate of UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) for six months; during UNISFA-facilitated peace conference in Uganda between Dinka Ngok and Misseriya communities involved in Abyei conflict, community leaders 19 May signed peace accord. Meanwhile, alleged Ethiopian gunmen 16, 18 May reportedly killed three Sudanese farmers in cross-border attacks near Qalabat village in Gedaref state. Tribal clashes 23 May reportedly killed three in Kassala state, next day allegedly killed at least six in West Kordofan state.
Violence in West Darfur reportedly left over 200 dead, anti-coup protesters marked third anniversary of former President Bashir’s fall, and military leaders’ relations with UN deteriorated. Deadly violence continued to ravage Darfur. Fighting between Arab pastoralists and non-Arab Massalit tribesmen 21 April erupted in Kreinik area of West Darfur state, 25 April reportedly spread to state capital El Geneina. NGO General Coordination for Refugees and Displaced in Darfur 24 April said at least 168 people killed in violence, accused paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF)-backed Janjaweed militia of orchestrating attacks, while West Darfur Governor Khamis Abdalla Abkar 26 April said death toll was over 200. RSF Head Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemedti” 1 April ordered use of military force and implementation of emergency law in South Darfur state after deadly tribal violence in late March. Meanwhile, on anniversary of 2019 sit-in in front of military headquarters in capital Khartoum, thousands 6 April marched in Khartoum and across country, demanding civilian rule; security forces shot one protester dead. Thousands of anti-coup protesters 11 April rallied across country on third anniversary of Bashir’s removal. Coup leader and Sovereign Council Chairman Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan 1 April threatened to expel head of UN mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), Volker Perthes, who late March warned political paralysis could lead country to “economic and security collapse”. Alliance of rebel groups signatory to 2020 peace agreement, Sudan Revolutionary Front, 9 April presented national dialogue initiative to resolve political crisis. Political coalition Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) 14 April conditioned participation on release of political detainees and abolition of state of emergency; authorities 22-27 April released at least 27 political prisoners, including former Minister Khalid Omer Yousif and former Sovereign Council member Mohammed al-Faki Suliman, but dozens of opponents remained in prison. Military leaders took several steps toward rehabiliting Bashir-era ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and allies. Authorities around 7 April dropped charges of crimes against state pressed against NCP head Ibrahim Ghandour and released him from prison; court 26 April reversed order dissolving Islamic Call Organization, which served as financing arm for Bashir’s regime.
Amid worsening economic crisis, authorities continued crackdown on anti-coup voices and opposition; intercommunal violence killed dozens in Darfur and deadly clashes peaked in disputed Abyei area. Security forces 10 March shot dead two people including 11-year-old boy during anti-coup protests in capital Khartoum and neighbouring Omdurman city. Thousands 17 March protested soaring prices and poor living conditions in Khartoum and across country, prompting clashes with police which left 187 reportedly injured; U.S. Treasury 21 March imposed sanctions on Central Reserve Police unit for using excessive force on protesters. Commission investigating June 2019 killing of over 100 protesters by security forces forced to suspend operations after security forces 7 March raided and seized its offices. Amid series of arrests since Feb of Empowerment Removal Committee (ERC) officials tasked with dismantling remnants of former President al-Bashir’s regime, authorities 8 March arrested prominent politician and ERC member Babiker Faisal, reportedly on breach of trust charges. Amid deteriorating economic situation, Central Bank 7 March floated country’s currency in effort to stabilise Sudanese pound’s exchange rate; currency next day devalued by 19%. UN mission to Sudan (UNITAMS) and African Union 10 March announced joint initiative with regional trade bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to help safeguard democratic transition. In briefing to UN Security Council, UN Envoy Volker Perthes 28 March warned Sudan is heading for “economic and security collapse” unless political deadlock is addressed; UN agencies 23 March said number of Sudanese facing acute hunger likely to double to 18mn by Sept due to economic crisis, conflict and poor harvests. Violence in Darfur and along border with South Sudan killed dozens. Notably, in Jebel Moon mountains, West Darfur state, clashes between Arab nomads and farmers from Misseriya Jebel tribe 5-7 March killed at least 16; renewed tribal violence 10 March killed at least 19 people in same region. Local authorities 31 March said fresh fighting between Fallata and Rizeigat tribes 29-30 March killed 45 people in villages outside South Darfur state capital Nyala. Violence 5-6 March flared in disputed Abyei area between Sudan and South Sudan, leaving at least 47 people dead (see South Sudan).
First stage of UN-led mediation to salvage political transition inconclusive, while violent crackdown on protests continued; situation remained tense in Darfur. In first interview on national TV since Oct, coup leader and head of Sovereign Council Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan 12 Feb said “military will quit politics” after elections, denied need for security sector reform and dismissed Western threats of sanctions. UN mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) next day concluded first stage of mediation between army and civilian actors with no clear outcome; consultations failed to bring all actors to negotiation table, with powerful civil society group Sudanese Professional Association 4 Feb accusing UNITAMS of implicitly recognising coup leaders and violating its mandate. Grassroots networks Khartoum Resistance Committees 27 Feb published political charter laying out key demands, including two-year transition under PM appointed by document’s signatories. Mass protests against military rule continued. Notably, tens of thousands 14 Feb took to streets across country and inhabitants of Northern state early to mid-Feb blocked road to Egypt in protest against increase in electricity prices; security forces’ crackdown throughout month killed five and injured hundreds, bringing number of protesters killed since Oct coup to at least 84. Amid wave of detentions, authorities 9 Feb arrested former minister and two members of Empowerment Removal Committee, which aims to dismantle remnants of former President Bashir’s regime; 13 Feb detained former civilian member of Sovereign Council Mohamed al-Faki. UN official 24 Feb said authorities had released 115 anti-coup protesters from weeks-long detention. Amid deadly clashes involving tribal militias in Darfur, Burhan and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces head Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemedti” 2 Feb presided over meeting on implementation of security arrangements in North Darfur’s capital El Fasher; Burhan reportedly ordered armed groups to leave major towns in Darfur to make way for implementation of 2020 Juba Peace Agreement; security forces reportedly injured five demonstrators protesting visit. Clashes between military forces and armed groups around former AU-UN peacekeeping mission UNAMID headquarters in El Fasher 5 Feb killed at least four.
Abdalla Hamdok resigned as PM, leaving military in full control of transition and provoking unprecedented political blockage amid ongoing mass protests. PM Hamdok 2 Jan resigned after failing to name civilian govt six weeks after his reinstatement by military. EU and Troika group (U.S., UK and Norway) 4 Jan called for appointment of new PM in accordance with 2019 Constitutional Declaration, which gives political coalition Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) prerogative to select PM; head of Sovereign Council and leader of Oct coup Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan next day rejected call. UN Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) 8 Jan announced dialogue process between stakeholders to try to salvage country’s transition to democracy and in following days met with 2020 Juba Peace Agreement signatories. FFC 16 Jan vowed to support UN-brokered dialogue, but Sudanese Professionals Association 9 Jan and Local Resistance Committees, grassroots networks, around same day rejected any negotiations with military. Thousands of pro-military demonstrators 26 Jan rallied outside UNITAMS office in capital Khartoum to protest against UN talks. Mass anti-military protests continued on near-daily basis with heavy crackdown by security forces bringing number of protesters killed since Oct coup to at least 79; notably, in one of deadliest days since coup, security forces 17 Jan killed seven protesters in Khartoum. In rare public statement, head of judiciary 20 Jan condemned violence against protesters. U.S. 20 Jan said it would not resume economic assistance unless violence ceases and civilian-led govt is restored. In Darfur, joint forces including paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and former rebel soldiers – recently created as per 2020 Juba Agreement – 10 Jan looted former headquarters of UN-AU mission (UNAMID) in North Darfur’s capital El-Fasher, stealing vehicles and equipment; incident comes after gunmen late Dec looted World Food Programme warehouses in El Fasher, prompting agency to suspend operations across North Darfur. In West Darfur state, renewed tribal violence starting 20 Jan killed nine and displaced over 15,000 near El Geneina city. Sovereign Council Deputy Chairman Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemedti” 22 Jan met Ethiopian defence minister in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa to discuss bilateral relations in first official visit since border dispute flared up in Dec 2020.
Formation of new transitional govt stalled amid power struggle between military and PM Hamdok; latter’s resignation would leave military in full control of transition; intercommunal violence killed scores in Darfur. In search of independence and genuine executive authority, reinstated PM Hamdok 1 Dec replaced most caretaker deputy ministers and around 12 Dec replaced all acting state governors appointed by military since Oct coup; discussions on new govt still ongoing by month’s end as Hamdok battled to form technocratic govt as stipulated in Nov agreement with military. Media reports 21 and 27 Dec alleged Hamdok intending to resign “soon”. Several mass protests against military rule and Nov agreement between Hamdok and military leaders held throughout month in capital Khartoum and other cities met with govt crackdown. Notably, on third anniversary of popular uprising against then-President al-Bashir, hundreds of thousands 19 Dec protested in Khartoum and elsewhere to demand full civilian rule; security forces opened fire to disperse demonstrators, killing at least two and injuring over 300 while UN 21 Dec reported 13 allegations of rape and gang rape by security forces during protest. Renewed crackdown on protests 30 Dec left five killed including four in Omdurman city. U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee 9 Dec adopted Sudan Democracy Act enabling targeted sanctions against individuals undermining democratic transition. Growing instability recorded in West Darfur state. West Darfur Doctors Committee 8-9 Dec said tribal violence had in recent days killed 88 in Krink area, 25 in Jebel Moon area and eight in Sarba locality. UN Refugee Agency 7 Dec said violence in Jebel Moon alone had displaced over 10,000 since 17 Nov, with 2,000 fleeing across border into Chad; 29 Jebel Moon leaders 9 Dec signed non-aggression pact. Gunmen 28-30 Dec looted three World Food Programme (WFP) warehouses in North Darfur state capital El Fasher, killing two people and prompting authorities to impose curfew and WFP to suspend operations. In South Kordofan state, tribal clashes between Hawazma and Kenana herders 1-2 Dec killed at least two in Abu Jubeiha area. On Ethiopian border, troops 1 Dec said they had taken control of Ethiopian settlement in disputed al-Fashaga area after days of clashes.
Political agreement reinstated ousted civilian PM Hamdok but consolidated military control over transition; anti-coup protesters faced deadly crackdown. Hamdok and Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of Sovereign Council and leader of Oct coup, 21 Nov signed deal reinstating former as PM to head hybrid military-civilian govt until next elections. Agreement provides for liberation of political figures detained since coup and investigations into violence that marred anti-coup demonstrations; also codifies sidelining of key civilian actors including Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), thus tilting balance of power toward military and their supporters. International community largely welcomed move, albeit with reservations. Notably, U.S. Sec State Antony Blinken 22 Nov said Hamdok’s reinstatement “important first step”. Several Sudanese political parties and civil society including FFC however condemned “attempt to legitimise the coup”, and 12 FFC ministers 22 Nov resigned in protest. Tens of thousands 25 Nov demonstrated against deal in capital Khartoum and other cities, called for justice for “martyrs” killed in demonstrations; security forces 30 Nov fired tear gas to disperse new protest in Khartoum. Earlier in month, near daily anti-coup protests held despite intensifying repression. Hundreds 7 Nov rallied across country as part of two-day civil disobedience campaign; security forces reportedly fired tear gas and arrested dozens. Thousands 13 Nov took to streets in Khartoum; medical authorities said at least eight protesters killed and over 200 injured. In deadliest crackdown since coup, security forces 17 Nov killed at least 15 demonstrators in and around Khartoum; hundreds more reportedly wounded; renewed clashes reported next day in Khartoum. Meanwhile, fighting between Arab herders and farmers from Misseriya Jebel tribe 17 Nov broke out in Jebel Moon area, West Darfur state, reportedly killing at least 43 by month’s end; intercommunal violence also ran high in North Darfur state, with attacks on several localities including Tawila and Dar El Salam leaving unknown number dead mid-Nov. Attack by armed groups and militias linked to Ethiopian military 27 Nov reportedly killed several Sudanese soldiers in disputed Al-Fashaga border zone; military 30 Nov said they had fired rockets into Ethiopian territory.
Military takeover upended country’s transition to civilian rule; deadly crackdown on anti-coup protesters could presage splits in military and violent escalation. Head of Sovereign Council, Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, 25 Oct declared state of emergency, dissolved Sovereign Council and transitional govt as military forces detained several civilian govt officials including PM Hamdok. Military same day shut down internet access, blocked roads and bridges in capital Khartoum, and stormed state broadcaster’s headquarters in neighbouring Omdurman city. Tens of thousands immediately took to streets in Khartoum to denounce coup; security forces cracked down using live ammunition, reportedly leaving at least seven dead and 140 injured. In following days, demonstrators blocked roads in Khartoum with makeshift barricades and burning tyres, and several sectors went on strike to reject coup, culminating in 30 Oct countrywide protests which saw tens of thousands demand restoration of civilian-led govt amid ongoing internet shutdown; troops killed at least three in Omdurman and reportedly injured at least 245 across country. Hamdok 26 Oct allowed to return home under heavy security; location of most other detained civilian officials remained unknown by month’s end. UN-led and other mediation efforts under way late Oct; possible formation of new transitional govt – likely featuring Hamdok though heavily influenced by military – could prompt backlash from street or sections of military. International actors swiftly condemned coup, with country’s AU membership and World Bank’s aid suspended 27 Oct. Earlier in month, tensions escalated between civilian and military components of transition following Sept’s failed coup attempt and as Port Sudan blockade (led by Beja tribe demanding greater representation under Oct 2020 peace deal) caused shortages. Several groups including faction of Sudan Liberation Movement/Army led by Minni Minnawi and Finance Minister Jibril Ibrahim’s Justice and Equality Movement 2 Oct split from governing political coalition Forces for Freedom and Change. Countrywide protest in support of democratic transition and civilian rule 21 Oct dwarfed pro-military demonstrations held in Khartoum 16-18 Oct. Meanwhile, security forces 4 Oct killed four suspected Islamic State members in raid in Khartoum; one military officer also killed.
Coup attempt strained relations between civilian and military components of transition; unity of transitional govt at stake in coming weeks. PM Hamdok 21 Sept said authorities had thwarted same day “coup attempt” by remnants of former President Bashir’s regime; 21 officers and unspecified number of soldiers reportedly arrested. Reported coup attempt heightened tensions between transitional authorities’ civilian and military components. PM Hamdok same day said incident confirmed “need to reform the security and military apparatus” and hundreds immediately took to streets in several cities to denounce coup and support civilian-led govt. Sovereign Council head Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy, Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemedti” – who also heads paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) – next day accused politicians of creating conditions for coups by seeking personal gains and neglecting citizens; governing coalition Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) 23 Sept said military’s “baseless accusations” posed “direct threat” to democratic transition. Military unit tasked with protecting committee in charge of dismantling Bashir regime’s political and financial apparatus 26 Sept reportedly withdrew from committee’s headquarters; civil society group Sudanese Professionals Association same day called for end to civilian partnership with military. Earlier in month, groups within FFC 8 Sept signed pledge to better cooperate to advance transition’s agenda; rebel groups turned members of transitional govt Justice and Equity Movement and Minni Minnawi’s Sudan Liberation Movement/Army faction refused to sign. Five security forces reportedly killed in raid targeting Islamic State (ISIS)-affiliated cell 28 Sept in capital Khartoum. Amid continued violence in Darfur region, particularly North Darfur state, authorities 14 Sept formed long-delayed Joint Force – comprising police, army, RSF and armed groups signatories to Oct 2020 peace deal – to protect civilians; many fear move could legitimise and empower actors involved in abuses. Meanwhile, tensions persisted with Ethiopia over disputed al-Fashaga border zone. Notably, Sudan 26 Sept said it had previous day thwarted incursion in Umm Barakit district by Ethiopian troops, which latter denied; Ethiopia’s Amhara regional forces and Sudan’s military reportedly clashed in al-Fashaga starting mid-Sept. Govt 26 Sept reached deal with tribal group in east after days of protests against region’s marginalisation, which were threatening energy supplies.
Intercommunal violence persisted in west, govt made progress in implementation of Oct 2020 peace deal, and tensions with Ethiopia continued to run high. In North Darfur state, unidentified gunmen 30 July-10 Aug killed four people in separate attacks in Tawila and Kushna areas, reportedly over disputed agricultural lands; 6 Aug reportedly ambushed members of former rebel group Gathering of Sudan Liberation Forces, brought into govt forces by last Oct’s Juba Peace Agreement and allegedly sent to secure area, killing seven; Sovereign Council next day sent fact-finding committee to investigate violence. Also in North Darfur, cattle raid 25 Aug reportedly left two dead in Kutum locality. Sudan Liberation Movement/Army faction leader Minni Minnawi sworn in 10 Aug as governor of Darfur region in line with Oct 2020 peace deal; Sovereign Council head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan same day pledged peace deal signatories would immediately start forming joint force to protect civilians in Darfur. Families of victims of former President Bashir’s regime and 2019 uprising 4 Aug organised sit-ins in capital Khartoum, demanding authorities purge public prosecution and judiciary from Bashir’s supporters; notably, sit-inners accused interim Attorney General Mubarak Mahmoud of foot-dragging on investigations. Court in North Kordofan state 5 Aug sentenced six members of paramilitary Rapid Support Forces to death for killing six civilians during 2019 protest. Ethiopia 5 Aug rejected Sudan’s offer earlier that day to mediate conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region in its capacity as current chair of regional bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development, saying Khartoum was “not a credible party”; refusal reportedly prompted Sudan to recall its ambassador to Ethiopia 8 Aug. PM Hamdok and al-Burhan 16 Aug visited disputed al-Fashaga zone at border with Ethiopia; Hamdok said Sudan would not make any concessions on country’s territorial integrity. Govt 23 Aug said UN had acceded to its April request that Ethiopian soldiers part of UN peacekeeping force in disputed Abyei area at border with South Sudan be replaced.
Intercommunal violence left dozens killed in Darfur, violence persisted in al-Fashaga area along border with Ethiopia, and govt made some progress in implementation of Oct 2020 peace deal. In West Darfur state, tribal clashes left over 20 people dead in Sirba locality 1-4 July and another 12 in Kereinik and Jebel Moon localities 2-5 July. In South Darfur state, unidentified gunmen 15-16 July killed three people in two separate attacks in Gereida locality. In North Darfur state, artillery shelling 17-18 July reportedly killed at least 17 in Sortony camp for displaced people, Kabkabiya locality. Alleged tribal violence also left at least four dead in Red Sea state’s capital Port Sudan 10 July and another 13 in Qadir area of South Kordofan state next day, prompting Security and Defence Council 12 July to scale up security operations in both states. Meanwhile, authorities 5 July said long-delayed Transitional Legislative Council would hold its first session in August; Sovereign Council head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan same day issued decree to form long-awaited body in charge of supervising disarmament, demobilisation and integration into armed forces of rebel group signatories of Oct 2020 peace agreement, as well as ceasefire monitoring committees in Darfur. Hundreds of combatants affiliated with Minni Minnawi’s Sudan Liberation Movement/Army faction 17 July deployed to North Darfur state to take part in joint forces aimed at protecting civilians following Dec 2020 pull-out of AU-UN peacekeeping mission UNAMID. Amid continued economic turmoil, international creditors 16 July cancelled $14.1bn of Sudan’s international debts and rescheduled another $9.4bn. Meanwhile, tensions persisted with Ethiopia over disputed al-Fashaga border zone; army 11 July reportedly repelled cross-border attack by Ethiopian militia, number of casualties unknown; govt 20 July vowed to keep troops in border zone until area “regains its full security and stability”; Ethiopian militia 23 July reportedly abducted three Sudanese children, next day killed one Sudanese soldier. Tensions ran high between Sudan and Egypt on one side and Ethiopia on the other as Addis Ababa completed second filling of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (see Nile Waters).
Tensions rose markedly over paramilitary Rapid Support Forces’ refusal to integrate into regular forces, with PM warning of “chaos” should security sector reform not proceed; protests erupted over end of fuel subsidies. Army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) early June fortified their respective positions in capital Khartoum, and Deputy Head of Sovereign Council and RSF leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemedti” 4 June said he would not merge RSF with regular forces into single army as called for in Oct 2020 peace agreement. PM Hamdok 15 June warned failure to reform security sector may lead to “chaos” and “civil war” and 22 June called for comprehensive political settlement to “unify civil and military fronts” and address “national crisis”. Armed group signatories to Oct 2020 peace agreement throughout month expressed frustration at lack of progress in bringing their forces into military. UN Security Council 3 June extended transition assistance mission in Sudan’s mandate for one year. Amid spiralling inflation, govt 8 June scrapped fuel subsidies in line with International Monetary Fund (IMF) roadmap, prompting sharp price hike and setting off protests in Khartoum 9-10 June; authorities 26 June said they would cut govt spending and increase social spending; police 30 June fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters in Khartoum demanding govt’s resignation over IMF-backed reforms. IMF 29 June approved debt relief package of $1.4bn to Sudan; IMF and World Bank same day said Khartoum was eligible for further debt relief under Heavily Indebted Poor Countries, paving way for clearing 90% of Sudan’s $56bn external debt within next three years. Intercommunal violence in south reportedly killed at least 36 in South Darfur state 6 June, 12 in South Kordofan state 10-18 June, and at least another five in West Kordofan state 13-14 June. Govt 26 June pledged to hand over former officials indicted for war crimes in Darfur to International Criminal Court. Meanwhile, Ethiopian militia 5 June reportedly killed two Sudanese farmers in disputed al-Fashaga border zone; army 8 June said Ethiopia had deployed additional troops near border, and govt 10 June sent reinforcements to area. Tensions with Addis Ababa over Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam remained high (see Nile Waters).