Fighting in Sudan must end 'immediately', US and Igad say

khartoum clashes

Heavy smoke bellows above buildings in the vicinity of the Khartoum airport on April 15, 2023, amid clashes in the Sudanese capital. Explosions rocked the Sudanese capital on April 15 as paramilitaries and the regular army traded attacks on each other's bases

Photo credit: AFP


Violent clashes in Sudan between the army and paramilitary groups must end "immediately," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Saturday.

Sudan's air force struck multiple paramilitary bases in Khartoum, the army said, as fighting raged on the streets of the capital between the rival security forces. 

"The Sudanese air force destroyed Tiba and Soba camps (in Khartoum) which belong to the Rapid Support (Forces) militia," it said in a statement, adding that the regular army was chasing down RSF fighters and urging civilians to stay indoors.

Following these reports, Blinked said he was "deeply concerned" and urged "all actors to stop the violence immediately and avoid further escalations or troop mobilizations and continue talks to resolve outstanding issues".

Blinken tweeted from Hanoi, Vietnam, where he was passing through on his way to a Group of Seven (G7) foreign ministers' meeting in Japan. He added that US embassy staff in Khartoum were all "currently accounted for."

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) and the African Union Commission (AUC) also issued statements on the situation in Sudan, urging dialogue and warning of consequences such as a slowing down of a political agreement.

Dr Workneh Gebeyehu said in a statement that he was extremely alarmed by reports of fighting in Khartoum, between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

Noting he was following the situation closely, Dr Workneh urged the opposing sides to "immediately cease fighting, de-escalate the situation and resolve their differences through dialogue", as well as allow citizens to peacefully mark the holy month of Ramadhan.

He further noted that Sudanese parties and stakeholders, including SAF and RSF, had made good progress towards signing a final political agreement and forming a civilian-led transitional government, efforts which such fighting would water down. 

"These reports of fighting will cause not only a setback but also serious insecurity and instability to Sudan and the region at large," Dr Workneh warned.

He added, "Igad will continue to stand in solidarity with the people of Sudan in their aspiration for peace."

In his statement, Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the AUC, also said he was greatly concerned by the developments in Sudan. He urged the political and military parties to find a fair political solution to the crisis that followed the October 25, 2021 coup and "its disastrous  consequences".

He appealed for an immediate end to armed violence and destruction of the country, bloodshed and what he termed terrorisation of the population, especially as Ramadhan is marked.

Mr Mahamat also asked for the international community's help in ending the crisis in Sudan.

The statement said, "At this delicate and extremely dangerous moment, the chairperson of the African Union Commission calls on all components of the international community to redouble efforts, in a unified and urgent manner, to meet the call of conscience and responsibility to force the two parties to immediately cease fire and sit around the negotiating table, in cooperation with all other political and military forces, to arrange satisfactory output for all."