Residents of Khartoum, Sudan's capital, were awakened on Wednesday morning to the unsettling sounds of heavy artillery, gunfire, and warplanes overhead. This marked the most severe episode of violence between the Sudanese Army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) since peace talks in Jeddah collapsed. The failed negotiations had been aimed at ending an eight-month conflict that has gripped the nation.
Fire Exchange in Multiple Areas
Witnesses reported exchanges of fire in multiple areas between the army and the RSF, leading to thick smoke billowing from the Hajj Youssef area east of Khartoum, an RSF stronghold. This smoke was the result of fierce artillery exchanges with army positions. The RSF has accused the army of bombing the Al Jaily petroleum refinery under their control since the conflict's early months.
Initiatives to Resolve the Crisis
Despite numerous initiatives proposed to resolve the crisis, the confrontations have entered their eighth month due to the Jeddah negotiation's failure. Malik Agar Eyre, the Vice President of Sudan's Transitional Sovereignty Council, announced a roadmap for ending the war and building a state based on the rule of law. This roadmap includes drafting a constitution that will lead to elections. He emphasized the need for a national army that reflects diversity to prevent Sudan's fragmentation.
Breakdown of Jeddah Talks
Simultaneously, army leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan expressed to the African organization IGAD his wish to return to the constitutional document governing the transitional period to solve the crisis. This suggestion was firmly rejected by former Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok. The collapse of the Jeddah talks, sponsored by Saudi Arabia and the United States, between the Sudanese army and the RSF, has left Sudanese circles with a sense of frustration. They had hoped these negotiations would resolve the ongoing crisis. The mediation announced the suspension of the talks for further consultations and a later date for their resumption.