Sudan

 In April 2023, war broke out in the capital Khartoum between the Sudanese army led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces headed by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemedti”. Fighting quickly spread to other parts of Sudan, particularly Darfur to the west and Kordofan to the south. Instability in Sudan, a strategic country that connects the Sahel, North Africa, the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea, will have ramifications well beyond its borders. The war has already sucked in outside actors. Meanwhile, long-running rebellions in several of the country’s peripheral regions persist. Through research and advocacy, Crisis Group aims to contribute to mitigating and resolving the conflicts in Sudan. 

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CrisisWatch Sudan

Unchanged Situation

Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) launched offensives against paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), both sides faced internal challenges, and U.S. named special envoy in push to end war.

SAF offensives yielded some success, RSF advanced in North Kordofan. Following months of setbacks, SAF made gains in Omdurman city, Khartoum state, 16 Feb claimed to have broken RSF siege on Engineers and Medical Corps there. SAF also defended positions in West Kordofan state’s Babanussa town, splitting Misseriya community’s allegiance to RSF. Reports of summary executions of alleged RSF supporters, however, increased opposition to SAF. Meanwhile, RSF 17 Feb claimed capture of SAF’s Jebel Al Daier base in North Kordofan, leaving paramilitary in control of state apart from state capital and paving way for expansion into White Nile state. In South Kordofan, SAF, rebel group Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North (al-Hilu) and SAF-affiliated Public Defence Forces, mostly from Nuba community, 9-10 Feb attacked RSF in Habila town; RSF counterattack 9 Feb killed over twenty as fighting turned into communal conflict between RSF-affiliated Arab tribes and Nuba.

SAF faced internal divisions and RSF struggled to administer areas it controls. SAF 6 Feb arrested officers in Omdurman, sparking flurry of rumours including that army had foiled coup attempt, laying bare divisions within SAF and raising fears of breakdown in command and control. Meanwhile, RSF faced mounting opposition among local communities in Gezira state and struggled to enforce law and order in South Darfur; it also struggled to protect Reziegat communities in North and South Darfur from SAF bombardment, fuelling discontent among paramilitary’s main support base.

U.S. appointed special envoy for Sudan. U.S. Sec State Antony Blinken 26 Feb announced appointment of Special Envoy for Sudan, signalling stepped-up efforts to end war following months of failed mediation. Humanitarian situation remained dire; SAF late Jan-early Feb reportedly blocked aid to RSF-controlled areas, while RSF and SAF traded blame for early Feb disruptions to telecommunications networks that impacted aid deliveries. UN Human Rights Office 23 Feb issued report detailing abuses by both sides, some of which UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk said “would amount to war crimes”.

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In The News

24 jan 2024
Regaining an ally in Sudan, especially along the Red Sea, would be a major win for Iran but will spook other regional and Western powers. Al Arabiya

Alan Boswell

Project Director, Horn of Africa
20 dec 2023
There hasn't been a major ceasefire push since the first few weeks of the war in Sudan … It's been a giant mess. The Economist

Alan Boswell

Project Director, Horn of Africa
20 dec 2023
The [Sudanese] army has never had to fight a war like this before and has shown itself not fit for purpose. The New York Times

Alan Boswell

Project Director, Horn of Africa
21 szep 2023
The east [of Sudan] is a powder keg. We just haven’t seen it blow up yet. Al Jazeera

Alan Boswell

Project Director, Horn of Africa
31 máj 2023
The concern now is if these Jeddah talks collapse, it confirms more or less that Sudan is basically in freefall into a full civil war. Al Jazeera

Alan Boswell

Project Director, Horn of Africa
3 máj 2023
Both sides [fighting in Sudan] have their own reasons for confidence, which is one reason we haven’t gotten to peace talks. Washington Post

Alan Boswell

Project Director, Horn of Africa

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Shewit Woldemichael

Senior Analyst, Sudan
Shewit Woldemichael

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