Podcast / Africa 1 minutes

War in Sudan

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard speaks with Crisis Group’s Sudan expert Shewit Woldemichael and Horn of Africa director Alan Boswell about the fighting in Sudan, the humanitarian disaster unfolding in urban areas and what can stop the slide into full-scale war.

Two rival armies are driving Sudan toward full-blown civil war. Fighting between the Sudanese armed forces, led by Abdelfattah al-Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary force led by Mohamed “Hemedti” Hamdan Dagalo, is tearing apart cities and towns across the country, including the capital Khartoum. The battles have already killed hundreds of civilians and left millions more facing shortages of basic necessities. This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard is joined by Crisis Group’s Senior Sudan Analyst Shewit Woldemichael and Crisis Group’s Horn of Africa Project Director Alan Boswell to look at the background to the crisis and what can be done to halt the fighting. They look at evolving tensions between the army and the RSF since Sudan’s 2019 popular uprising, especially since the 2021 coup, when Burhan and Hemedti seized full control of the state from civilians with whom they had been sharing power. They explain the trigger for the fighting: a dispute over how to integrate the RSF into regular army ranks. They discuss how Hemedti, a figure from outside Sudan’s traditional Nile elites, emerged as an influential power broker and what he wants in the confrontation with Burhan. They also talk about the two military leaders’ foreign ties, the danger that outside powers will get sucked into Sudan’s conflict and prospects for mediation. Finally, they ask what went wrong with Sudan’s transition after the 2019 uprising and whether external actors, particularly Western governments, could have done more to prevent its collapse. 

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. 

For more in-depth analysis of the topics discussed in this episode, make sure to check out our Sudan country page and our latest statement; Stopping Sudan’s Descent into Full-Blown Civil War.


Executive Vice President
Project Director, Horn of Africa
Senior Analyst, Sudan

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