Heavy fighting: what’s going on in Sudan?

A power struggle between the two most powerful men in Sudan has claimed at least 185 lives since the weekend. Despite a ceasefire agreed on Tuesday, fierce clashes continue between the troops of de facto president General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led by his deputy Mohammed Hamdan Daglo. Commentators take a closer look.

La Stampa (IT) /

Confrontation between former accomplices

A reckoning between criminals in uniform is what La Stampa sees:

“Between dirty kleptocrats who adorn themselves with usurped medals. General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of the military junta that machine-gunned a fragile attempt to establish democratic hope in 2021, and [his deputy] Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as ‘Hemetti’, head of the death squads that perpetrated the Darfur genocide. ... Two ex-accomplices fighting over the spoils: namely Sudan. ... After the coup, the paramilitary militias were incorporated into the army as Rapid Support Forces, or RSF. They were also entrusted with the lcurative control of borders and migrants, with financial support from the European Union.”

Domenico Quirico
Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

Civilian population needs a chance

Neither side is worthy of victory, the Frankfurter Rundschau comments:

“The best outcome would be if they weakened themselves to such an extent that the civilian population finally gets its chance to have a say. For years, it has steadfastly maintained its demands. If there were a Nobel Prize for civil resistance, the Sudanese would deserve it. Unfortunately history is rarely fair. There’s an old African proverb that goes: when two elephants fight it is the grass under them that suffers. When two devils fight, things get even worse.”

Johannes Dieterich
The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Russia destabilising Africa

Russia’s President Putin is also partly to blame for the new wave of violence in Sudan, The Daily Telegraph writes:

“His failed invasion of Ukraine has empowered the Wagner Group, which uses that clout to plunder African nations and stir up trouble. ... Indeed, Sudan may be just the first African nation to implode under Russian influence. In the Central African Republic, Mozambique, Libya and Mali, Russian mercenaries have worked to reinforce existing conflicts, prop up despotic regimes, suppress efforts towards democracy, loot natural resources, secure strategic advantage for Moscow.”

Richard Kemp