On Saturday, rising tensions boiled over as Sudan’s paramilitary group, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), clashed with Sudan’s civilian army in various locations across country and video shows the two forces exchanging gunfire in the city of Khartoum, the capital of Sudan.
According to Reuters, the struggle for control of the country could plunge Sudan into a larger conflict as it struggles with economic breakdown and tribal violence. Civilian forces have called for an immediate halt in the conflict as they push to become a democracy and hold elections.
In a statement the army said, “This is a war that no one will win, and that will destroy our country forever,” and the country is sliding towards “the precipice of total collapse.”
Both Sudan’s army and the RSF have had conflicting versions of what took place. Each side said that the other struck first, with the army saying they were retaking sites that the RSF had taken from them.
General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the RSF leader, warned army General Fattah Al-Burhan and said, “We know where you are hiding and we will get to you and hand you over to justice, or you die just like any other dog.”
This was in response to General Fattah Al-Burhan telling Al Jazeera TV, “We think if they are wise they will turn back their troops that came into Khartoum. But if it continues we will have to deploy troops into Khartoum from other areas.”
The tensions between the two groups goes back to before 2019 when General Dagalo became deputy leader of Sudan’s ruling Sovereign Council following the ousting of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. The RSF has accused al-Bashir loyalists in the army of attempting a coup of its own to take power in the country.
The report noted that reporters on the ground witnessed “cannon and armored vehicles” in the streets of the capital as well as “heavy weapons fire near the headquarters” of both military groups.