RSF-Army Conflict Tears Sudan Apart

Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG) strongly condemns the recent conflict that has erupted today between the regular Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary force. As both outfits engage in a power struggle, innocent civilians suffer in the crossfire and a transition to civilian governance is under greater threat. The international community cannot let innocent men, women, and children in Sudan down, and needs to act immediately to protect them and bring an end to the carnage before it explodes into civil war and results in even more death and destruction.

This Saturday morning, built-up tension between the RSF and the military finally exploded, culminating in ongoing and fierce gunfire, explosions, and enormous clouds of black smoke engulfing the capital city of Khartoum – which is home to 10 million people. 2 people in the Khartoum airport, a ‘’flashpoint’’ in the violence, lost their lives. Much of the conflict is occurring near the Sudanese presidential palace, and both factions blame the other for initiating the current conflict by launching attacks against the other earlier on.

The conflict has also seemingly spilled over to other areas, such as South Darfur and North Kordofan. Violence in El-Obeid, North Kordofan, killed at least 3 people and wounded dozens. Meanwhile, in El Fasher, North Darfur, indiscriminate gunfire killed 2 people and left at least 30 hospitalized, and one person lost their life to similar violence in South Darfur while at least a dozen received injuries; clashes in Zalingei and El Geneina specifically are continuing.

It was about four years ago that a coup deposed then-president Omar al-Bashir. In spite of hopes that the country would successfully transition to civilian leadership, the Sudanese military violently seized power in 2021 and has since continued to repress and commit genocidal violence against ethnic Africans in Darfur and other areas of Sudan – with the support of the RSF, whom al-Bashir had deliberately empowered and included in his security committee. However, the RSF and the national military – despite being united in favor of committing genocide and avoiding accountability under a civilian government – still had internal divisions.

As per international law, the international community needs to act quickly to bring an end to the conflict, save the lives of all those caught in the crossfire, and to ensure stable civilian governance that is truly accountable to the will of the Sudanese people. This will require adopting strong accountability measures and pressuring both the RSF and the national army to stop the ongoing violence. Accordingly, DWAG calls on the international community, the Biden administration, and the UN Security Council to take the following measures: 

Since the start of the 20th century, chaos and horrendous violence have consistently characterized the situation in Sudan. It is fundamental that the global community does not turn a blind eye to the plight of innocents and works to ensure the Sudanese people are safe in their homes. We must speak up loudly and demand sufficient humanitarian assistance and protection for all in need, as well as an end to all conflict and violence. Together, we can make a difference.