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Chad closes borders with Sudan amid armed clashes

April 16, 2023 at 12:21 pm

Smokes rise after clashes erupted in the Sudanese capital on April 16, 2023. [Omer Erdem – Anadolu Agency]

Chad on Saturday closed its borders with Sudan as clashes erupted between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, Anadolu reports.

“Chad, while securing its borders, has decided to close the border with Sudan until further notice,” Communication Minister Aziz Mahamat Saleh said.

“This conjecture of unrest” has prompted the government of Chad, a country that borders Sudan, to take “appropriate measures through its diplomatic and consular services to ensure the safety of its citizens in Sudan,” Mahamat Saleh added.

The Chadian authorities also called for “calm, serenity and a cessation of hostilities” while inviting “the belligerents to dialogue.”

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.

READ: ‘Immediately cease hostilities’: UN chief calls for restoring calm in Sudan

While the RSF accused the army of attacking its forces south of Khartoum with light and heavy weapons, the military said the paramilitary force was “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: Death toll rises to 56 as clashes continue in Sudan