A summary of today’s developments
The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and Sudan armed forces (SAF) began exchanging fire at 9am on Saturday.
The clashes came over a dispute on the timing to integrate the RSF into the SAF as part of a power-sharing deal with the civilians who led protests against the former president Omar al-Bashir in 2019.
They had a two-year power-sharing deal with the army before being interrupted by a military coup in October 2021. The Sudanese people resisted and protests took place across the country. More than 100 people have been killed since then.
The Sudanese Doctors’ Union told Reuters at least 25 people were killed and 183 others injured. The group was unable to determine if all the casualities were civilians. Two people were killed at Khartoum airport, four in neighborhing Omdurman, eight in the city of Nyala, six in the city of El Obeid and five in El Fasher, the source added.
Sudan’s armed forces has dismissed any possibility of negotiations or dialogue with the country’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). There will be “no negotiations or dialogue until the dissolution of the paramilitary RSF”, the armed forces said on its Facebook page.
The Sudanese army chief, Gen Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, told Al Jazeera in an interview that the army is in control of the presidential palace, the military headquarters and the airport.
Sudan’s former civilian prime minister Abdalla Hamdok posted a video on Twitter calling for de-escalation from the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and Sudan armed forces (SAF). Hamdok called on the Sudanese people to stand together and reject the war and asked the international and regional community to intervene, warning that war in Sudan means war in the whole region.
The army has rejected assertions by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) that they have seized the presidential palace, the army chief’s residence and airports in Khartoum and the northern city of Merowe. The situation on the ground was unclear. The RSF said the army had attacked it first, while the army said it was fighting the RSF at sites the paramilitaries said they had taken.
A Saudia plane at Sudan’s Khartoum airport came under fire during clashes on Saturday, the state-owned Saudi Arabian carrier said. It said passengers, crew and staff have moved from the airport to the Saudi embassy in Khartoum.
The chair of the African Union Commission called for an urgent ceasefire in Sudan, appealing to the armed forces and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) to “immediately stop the destruction of the country, the terrorization of its population, and the bloodshed during the last ten days of Ramadan”.
The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) shared a video on Twitter they said shows Egyptian troops who have “surrendered” in Merowe, a town in northern Sudan. There was no clear explanation for the presence of Egyptian troops in Merowe on Saturday, but Egyptian and Sudanese troops have periodically staged joint military exercises in the north of the country in the wake of diplomatic tensions with Ethiopia.
An Egypt military spokesman said they are following the situation in Sudan closely and are coordinating with relevant authorities to guarantee the safety of Egyptian forces, Reuters reported.
Foreign secretary James Cleverly called for an immediate stop to the ongoing violence across Sudan. “The UK calls on the Sudanese leadership to do all they can to restrain their troops and de-escalate to prevent further bloodshed,” he wrote on Twitter. “Military action will not resolve this situation.”
Chad’s government has closed its border with Sudan and called for calm. “Chad appeals to the regional and international community as well as to all friendly countries to prioritise a return to peace,” it said in a statement.
Egypt has expressed grave concern over the clashes in Sudan and called on all parties to exercise restraint, the foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said the situation in Sudan was delicate but insisted there was still an opportunity to complete the transition to a civilian-led government. Speaking from Hanoi, Blinken said the situation was “fragile” as some actors “may be pushing against that progress”.
The United Arab Emirates has called on all parties in Sudan to exercise restraint, de-escalate the fighting and work towards ending the crisis through dialogue, the state news agency reported.
Russia’s embassy in Sudan said it is concerned by an “escalation of violence” in the country and called for a ceasefire and negotiations.
Britain’s embassy in Sudan urged its nationals there to remain indoors and said it is closely monitoring the situation after paramilitaries said they had taken control of the presidential palace and other sites.