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US urges Sudan’s military leaders to stop fighting amid unrest

April 15, 2023 at 2:03 pm

New US Ambassador in Sudan John Godfrey (R) smiles after presenting the letter of credence to Chairman of the Transitional Sovereignty Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan (L) at the presidential palace in Khartoum, Sudan on September 01, 2022 [Sudan Sovereignty Council Press – Anadolu Agency]

The United States on Saturday called on Sudan’s top military leaders to stop fighting amid clashes between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

“I urgently call on senior military leaders to stop the fighting,” US Ambassador in Khartoum, John Godfrey, said in a statement.

Godfrey termed the escalation of tensions within the military component as “extremely dangerous.”

“I just arrived late last night in Khartoum and woke up to the deeply disturbing sounds of gunfire and fighting. I am currently sheltering in place with the Embassy team, as Sudanese throughout Khartoum and elsewhere are doing,” he added.

READ: TIMELINE – Sudan years of political strife

Fighting broke out early Saturday between the Sudanese army and RSF fighters in Khartoum, with gunfire and bombs heard near the army headquarters and presidential palace, according to an Anadolu reporter in Khartoum.

While the RSF accused the army of attacking its forces south of Khartoum with light and heavy weapons, the military accused the paramilitary force of “spreading lies” and declared it a “rebel” group.

The dispute between the two sides came to the surface on Thursday when the army said recent movements by the RSF had happened without coordination and were illegal, with their rift centering around a proposed transition to civilian rule.

Sudan has been without a functioning government since October 2021 when the military dismissed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s transitional government and declared a state of emergency.

Last December, Sudan’s military and political forces signed a framework agreement to resolve the months-long crisis.

The signing of the final agreement was scheduled to take place on April 6, but was delayed. No date has been announced for the signing of the deal.

Sudan’s transitional period which started in August 2019 was scheduled to end with elections in early 2024.

READ: FACTBOX – The struggle for power in Sudan