Fighting has erupted between the Sudanese paramilitary Rapid Support Force (RSF) and army forces, marking a dangerous escalation in the ongoing conflict between the Sudanese government and various opposition groups. The RSF, a powerful paramilitary force that operates under the authority of the Sudanese government, has been involved in various conflicts and clashes within Sudan over the past years, and its latest clash with army forces has further heightened tensions in the country.
The military has been in charge of Sudan since a coup in 2021, which ended a power-sharing arrangement formed following the ousting of long-term former President Omar al-Bashir.
The exact cause of the latest round of fighting between the RSF and army forces is unclear, but it is believed to be related to longstanding grievances and differences between different factions within the Sudanese government. Sudan has been grappling with internal conflicts for many years, involving various ethnic, political, and economic issues. The RSF, led by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, commonly known as “Hemeti,” has been accused of human rights abuses, including allegations of committing war crimes and atrocities against civilians in conflict-affected regions such as Darfur.
Since the fall of long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir in April 2019, the military led by General al-Burhan has held power in the country. The incorporation of the notorious RSF into the military is one of the most important conditions for the formation of a civilian government.
The recent fighting has reportedly taken place in several areas across Sudan, including the capital, Khartoum, and other regions where the RSF has a significant presence. The clashes have been characterized by heavy gunfire, shelling, and other forms of violence, resulting in casualties on both sides and causing civilian displacement.
The escalation of fighting between the RSF and army forces is a cause for concern, as it poses a threat to stability and security in Sudan. The country has been undergoing a fragile transition since the ousting of former President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019, and efforts to establish a democratic government and implement reforms have been challenging.
The latest fighting further complicates the already complex situation and could potentially undermine the progress made in Sudan’s transition towards democracy.
The African Union Commission issued a statement Saturday urging a ceasefire in Sudan and calling for “the political and military parties to find a fair political solution to the crisis.” The commission’s chairman, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, called on the Rapid Support Forces paramilitaries in particular to stop the violence.
The impact of the fighting on civilians has been devastating. Civilians caught in the crossfire have been forced to flee their homes, seeking safety in overcrowded camps or other areas.
Reports of human rights abuses, including arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial killings, and other forms of violence against civilians, have raised concerns about the safety and well-being of vulnerable populations, including women, children, and displaced persons.
The international community has called for an immediate end to the fighting and the resumption of dialogue to resolve the conflict peacefully. The African Union, the United Nations, and other regional and international actors have expressed deep concern about the situation in Sudan and called for all parties to exercise restraint, respect human rights, and work towards a peaceful resolution of their differences.
They have also emphasized the need for accountability for human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law.
Egypt’s MIG-29s captured by the RSF
Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) claimed control of Jabal Awliya air force base Saturday afternoon.
The airport in the village of Jabal Awliya — which is about 35 kilometers (roughly 20 miles) south of the capital Khartoum — serves as a base for the Sudanese Air Force.
A recent video recording published by the Rapid Support Forces taking control of the “Marawi” military airport, which is controlled by the Sudanese army in the north of the country.
In the video, which appears to have been recorded on Saturday, fighters from the Rapid Support Forces appear next to warplanes bearing the Egyptian flag.
The RSF also captured Egyptian military personnel are from the El-Sa’ka special force’s group.
The MiG-29s and military personnel took part in a recent joint Egyptian-Sudanese military exercise Nile Eagles-2 held in Merowe Air Base in Sudan in March this year.
The Egyptian Air Force particpates in the Exercise with MIG-29M/M2 fighter jets as well as Army Special Forces personnel. The Egyptian troops that were deployed at Merowe Airport in Sudan were for the purposes of joint training with the Sudanese Armed Forces.
Two years ago, Egypt took delivery of MiG-29M/M2 fighter jets from Russia. Egypt ordered 50 MiG-29M/M2 aircraft in 2015, with deliveries between 2017 and 2020.