Escalation of the March War and Battles for Leadership in Khartoum

Escalation of the March War and Battles for Leadership in Khartoum

The escalation of the march war… and battles over the leadership of the army in Khartoum

Today (Thursday), the Rapid Support Forces targeted with artillery shells the headquarters of the Sudanese Army General Command in the center of the capital, Khartoum, while fierce battles with heavy and light weapons are taking place between the forces of both parties in the south of the city, specifically around the Armored Corps Command.

Eyewitnesses said that the artillery shelling on the army headquarters caused strong explosions, and columns of smoke were seen rising from inside it. For the sixth day in a row, the “Rapid Support” intensified its attacks on the command headquarters, with the aim of controlling it and declaring its victory over the army, while the army confronted it with air strikes, military aircraft and marches.

The sound of army artillery shelling was heard, launched from northern Omdurman, on targets belonging to the “Rapid Support” in the old neighborhoods of Omdurman. Residents in a number of Khartoum neighborhoods reported that the army launched strikes with marches on “Rapid Support” targets in the Al-Sahafa and Al-Kalakla suburbs.

Citizens said: “We hear the sounds of strong explosions and clashes with light weapons in central Khartoum,” coinciding with the flight of an army march in the area surrounding the Corps of Engineers, south of Omdurman. Recently, the frequency of army attacks with marches on fixed and mobile “Rapid Support” positions has increased in several areas in the capital’s cities, and both sides used them extensively during the fierce battles between them around the Armored Corps headquarters last August.

“Rapid Support” denies

In a related context, the Rapid Support Forces, led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as “Hemedti”, categorically denied any connection or affiliation with the Russian “Wagner” group, against the backdrop of an investigation published by the CNN news network, about Participation of Ukrainian special forces in carrying out march strikes targeting the “Rapid Support” forces supported by “Wagner” in the city of Omdurman. She said, in a statement, on Wednesday night: “Rumors have circulated suggesting that the Rapid Support Forces are receiving military support from (the Wagner Group),” and she considered them “hints and a deliberate attempt to link the crisis to global agendas,” in reference to the Russian-Ukrainian war in which the “Wagner Group” participated. Fighting alongside the Russian army.

An archive photo of the “Rapid Support” commander, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (Hemedti), with his forces in South Darfur (AFP)

The statement stated that the news network’s investigation “claimed that Ukraine launched a series of drone attacks against the Rapid Support Forces, which implicitly means that our forces have relations with (Wagner), the Russian entity.” The Rapid Support Forces announced their rejection of these accusations and false information, and considered them a defamation campaign launched by “specific entities” that they did not disclose. In return, it accused the army of using foreign mercenaries currently stationed in its camps, in addition to seeking assistance from a number of extremist “militias” linked to the isolated regime, and some “brigades linked to terrorist factions.” The Rapid Support Forces explained that their armament comes from seizing supplies and warehouses of the army and its allied militias.

CNN quoted a Ukrainian military source, whose identity was withheld, that the march attacks targeting the Rapid Support Forces were not the work of the Sudanese army, suggesting that Ukrainian special forces were likely behind these attacks. The news network said that the drones that the Sudanese army used in at least 8 raids were used by the Ukrainians.

There was no official comment or statement from the Sudanese army regarding the allegations being circulated about Ukrainian interference in the war inside the country.

Boycott Al-Burhan’s speech

On the other hand, the Forces of Freedom and Change (Central Council) in Sudan considered the call made by diplomats to boycott the speech of the Chairman of the Sovereignty Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, on Thursday, before the United Nations General Assembly, as a positive step within the pressure mechanisms required in the current circumstances. Ammar Hamouda, the official spokesman for “Freedom and Change,” said in statements to the Arab World News Agency, “The activity carried out by Sudanese civil groups in its entirety is trying to create pressure mechanisms on presidents.” He continued, saying: “This is one of the ways in which the influence of the civil voice appears, and these are required actions in light of the severe suffering that the Sudanese are experiencing as a result of the war.”

The “Platform of Independent Sudanese Diplomats Against the War,” which is a gathering of a number of former and current diplomats who reject the war, issued a call to the countries participating in the seventy-eighth session of the United Nations, for their delegations to leave the hall the moment Al-Burhan entered to deliver his speech.

Al-Burhan during the United Nations General Assembly session, Thursday (Sudanese Sovereignty Council media on Facebook)

Hamouda described leaving the hall upon Al-Burhan’s entry, and boycotting his speech before the United Nations General Assembly, as “a symbolic step and a legitimate means of protest.” But he added that the content of Al-Burhan’s speech and its discussion is “vital.” The Freedom and Change spokesman explained that the official responses and comments to the speech regarding the need to stop the war “must be taken seriously.” He considered it necessary to differentiate between “the official roles of the de facto authority that can address world leaders, and the Sudanese civil activism that wants to transfer its pressure to a new square, which is the necessity of obliging those who hold weapons to silence their weapons.”

Al-Burhan’s visit to New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly is his seventh foreign visit since the outbreak of war in Sudan more than 5 months ago, after he visited Egypt, South Sudan, Eritrea, Qatar, Turkey, and Uganda.

Jeddah platform

During a ministerial meeting on the situation in Sudan, held on Wednesday, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, the Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, said that his country called on all Sudanese parties to come to Jeddah to continue negotiations. Speaking to the Arab World News Agency, the spokesman for “Freedom and Change” said that he believes that these statements will put pressure on the two sides to return to negotiations. He considered that the most important step towards starting negotiations is to unify the platforms and limit the issues, “starting with the military side, with a ceasefire, and then making room for a political process.” Hamouda also expressed his belief that the two sides of the conflict in Sudan will return to the Jeddah platform to resume negotiations, adding: “It is necessary to go to Jeddah, even if the travel is long.”

The Saudi Foreign Minister alongside representatives of both parties to the Sudanese conflict during the signing of the Jeddah Agreement in May (Reuters)

The spokesman considered that the Jeddah platform “is the platform that has come a long way and gained the support of many regional powers and international powers as well, and it is better than searching for new platforms.” He continued, saying: “We in the Forces of Freedom and Change believe that building on the Jeddah platform and what it reached is the best way to speed up finding a solution in light of the crushing human suffering resulting from the war.” Hamouda pointed out that many of Al-Burhan’s statements during his previous foreign visits were talking about the necessity of reaching a peaceful solution. The Jeddah platform was launched a few weeks after the outbreak of war in mid-April, under Saudi-American sponsorship, and succeeded several times in reaching a truce, before the Sudanese army suspended its participation in it. Some African countries have put forward other initiatives to resolve the Sudanese crisis, such as the “Intergovernmental Authority for Development” (IGAD) countries and Sudan’s neighboring countries, but they have not achieved significant progress.

2023-09-22 03:35:16
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