Conflict in Sudan: What is there to know

On April 15th, 2023 the Rapid Support Force of Sudan, a paramilitary group, attacked multiple government sites in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum. Open conflict has erupted in the capital and in other places across the country. This has led to the deaths of over 300 people, according to the United Nations, which even include diplomats and nationals abroad.

The Paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Force, or RSF for short, is led by general Mohammed Hamdan Daglo. They are currently attempting a coup against the current government which has been in a transitional state since 2019, after the removal of the former president and convicted war criminal, Omar al-Bashir. They have also been accused of looting stores in the city.

In 2019, Sudan experienced a coup by the Sudanese military as the populus of Sudan demanded the overthrow of Omar al-Bashir who had ruled the country since 1993.

Currently, the Sudanese Armed Forces, or SAF for short, is the main opponent of RSF. The SAF is led by general Abdel Fattah Burham and he is the de facto leader of Sudan. Both of these groups are known for their human rights abuses, especially in the Darfur region where there has been a growing independence movement.

The Darfur region is an area in western Sudan made up of the Fur people, who are considered distinct from other Sudanese and Arabs. In 2003, there was an uprising in the region from the population who expressed a desire to break away from Sudan. The Sudanese government sent in the SAF and RSF. They committed war crimes, including ethnic cleansing and use of chemical weapons, to control the region. The new conflict in Khartoum is likely to spill into the Darfur region.

Since the beginning of the modern conflict in 2023, many governments have announced their evacuation plans for their nationals living abroad in Sudan. Japan, the United States, and Saudi Arabia have all successfully evacuated their citizens. Due to the capture and closure of Khartoum International Airport by the RSF, leaving and entering has become extremely difficult, causing Qatar Airways, and Saudia to suspend their lines to the city. As a result, many nationals were transported to the Port of Sudan and then taken across the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia. This plan was used by Saudi Arabia to evacuate their citizens along with other nationals from 12 different countries. The US transported their citizens using military aircraft.

The Sudanese Armed forces have told all citizens in Khartoum to stay inside for their own protection. Some civilians in the city have even started taking up arms to protect themselves, their family, and their homes.

Unfortunately it does not appear the situation will end soon or in a peaceful manner.