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

Paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) advanced south into Sennar, White and Blue Nile states, and began consolidating power in Darfur region; RSF leader’s diplomatic tour continued.

RSF advanced south and began consolidating power in Darfur. Following RSF’s Dec advance toward central-eastern Sudan and subsequent capture of Gezira state capital, army early Jan began arming civilians in Gezira; RSF 18 Jan threatened to continue offensives into eastern Gedarif, Kassala and Port Sudan states if civilian recruitment continues. In south, RSF early Jan surrounded Sennar city, Sennar state, and advanced toward White and Blue Nile states, triggering formation of new militias that support army. Meanwhile, RSF stepped up efforts to form civil administration and security structures in parts of Darfur region it controls. Notably, in West Darfur state it appointed new governor and pursued peace deals with local actors; in North Darfur state, it worked to de-escalate tensions with Darfuri armed groups, most of whom are Juba Peace Agreement signatories, and forged alliances to bolster security presence in state capital El Fasher. 

Fighting fuelled ethnic conflict in Kordofan region. In South Kordofan state, RSF 8 Jan attacked army position around Dilling town, leading to skirmishes with rebel group Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (al-Hilu) due to group’s ethnic affiliation with army; confrontation turned into ethnic-based conflict between non-Arab Nubian SPLM-N (al-Hilu) and RSF-affiliated Misseriya and Hawazma Arab militias. In West Kordofan state’s Babanusa town, RSF-army clashes 22-24 Jan reportedly killed and injured dozens.

Army stepped up offensives. Army renewed aerial offensives in capital Khartoum, as well as South Darfur and Gezira states; 27 Jan launched ground attacks in Khartoum’s north and south east amid offensive in sister city Omdurman. Addressing troops in Kassala state, Burhan 30 Jan announced shift in strategy, directing army and allies to launch full-scale offensive against RSF.

RSF leader continued diplomatic engagement. RSF leader Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemedti” continued regional tour, 18 Jan attended Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) summit in Uganda, prompting army 20 Jan to suspend Sudan’s membership in setback for IGAD mediation effort. Hemedti 2 Jan signed declaration with civilian coalition TAQADDUM, agreeing to ceasefire talks with army; army leader 5 Jan rejected declaration. 

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In The News

24 sty 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 gru 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
20 gru 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
21 wrz 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 Maj 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 Maj 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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