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. 

CrisisWatch Sudan

Unchanged Situation

Sudanese army (SAF) made significant gains against paramilitary forces (RSF) and fighting reignited in North Darfur, amid rising risk of famine.

RSF lost ground amid SAF offensive. SAF recaptured much of Omdurman city from RSF, with its forces 12 March taking control of national radio and television headquarters. Offensive 17 March reached Signal Corps in Bahri city, which risks becoming next epicentre of fighting; SAF could also attempt to retake capital Khartoum, increasing danger of protracted urban warfare. SAF launched multi-pronged offensive into RSF-controlled El Gezira state; paramilitary holds state capital Wad Madani, critical for maintaining its positions in Khartoum. Sudan Liberation Movement under Darfur governor Minni Minawi 24 March announced group was joining SAF to expel RSF from Khartoum and El Gezira. Meanwhile, violence 15 March broke out in North Darfur’s capital El Fasher, with SAF conducting airstrikes on RSF positions; fighting could engulf state in conflict, drawing in armed groups from Darfur that have so far remained neutral. 

Various diplomatic efforts continued, albeit without clear results. AU High-Level Panel for Sudan 6 March met separately with members of former President Bashir’s National Congress Party (NCP) and Forces for Freedom and Change-Democratic Bloc in Egyptian capital Cairo. Panel next day separately met RSF and civilian coalition Taqaddum in Ethiopia; both criticised panel’s talks with NCP, indicating challenge of bridging Sudan’s polarised political landscape. UN Security Council 8 March urged cessation of hostilities during Muslim holy month Ramadan; RSF next day welcomed call, but SAF 10 March ruled out truce unless RSF leaves civilian locations. U.S. Special Envoy Tom Perriello 11 March embarked on regional tour, 26 March said he hoped for restart of talks around 18 April, though RSF and SAF remained sceptical about U.S. mediation. Rumours circulated of secret RSF-SAF meetings in Cairo, which RSF denied. Regional bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development 26 March appointed Special Envoy for Sudan.

Humanitarian agencies warned of looming hunger crisis. World Food Program head 6 March warned conflict risks triggering “world’s largest hunger crisis”, with “over 25 million people across Sudan, South Sudan and Chad trapped in a spiral of deteriorating food security”. Integrated Food Security Phase Classification 29 March called for immediate action “to prevent famine”.

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In The News

16 Nis 2024
A big part of the problem has been the Sudanese army side of the war essentially blocking food relief into areas they don't control. CBS News

Alan Boswell

Project Director, Horn of Africa
24 Oca 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 Ara 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 Ara 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 Eyl 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 May 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

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shewit-woldemichael

Shewit Woldemichael

Senior Analyst, Sudan
Shewit Woldemichael

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