The Sudanese Rapid Support Forces announced today, Friday, complete control over Central Darfur state after battles with the army in a major victory for the forces led by General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, known as “Hemeti,” which will impact the course of the war in the coming period. The Rapid Support Forces shared a video on their official Facebook page featuring a military official alongside soldiers confirming the support’s control over the entire state and indicating that defeated army elements mingled with the displaced, which constitutes a crime against humanity.
The takeover of Central Darfur state is a significant blow to the Sudanese army, whose leadership had vowed to regain lost territories, including vast areas in the Darfur region. The Darfur states witnessed fierce tribal clashes that resulted in casualties, injuries, and displacement, exacerbated by incitement by the dissolved National Congress Party in various parts of the country, especially in the eastern states of Sudan.
Violent clashes continue in the capital Khartoum, particularly in the Omdurman area, which has been subjected to intensive aerial bombardment by the army, causing panic among civilians. The Rapid Support Forces affirm their readiness to collaborate with the United Nations in opening an investigation into crimes and violations against Sudanese civilians in various regions, including Darfur. This was discussed during a meeting this week between the second-in-command of the Rapid Support Forces, General Abdelrahim Hamdan Dagalo, and the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Mrs. Pramila Patten.
These developments occur amidst escalating tensions on the Ethiopian-Sudanese border, where Sudanese authorities have closed the Qulabat crossing in Al-Qadarif state with Ethiopia due to armed clashes in the Bahir Dar region of Ethiopia between the Fano militia and special Amhara forces. This has further complicated the situation for Sudanese families seeking to escape the ongoing conflict within Sudan.
Thousands of Sudanese individuals are seeking to leave their country due to the conflict between the Sudanese army led by First Lieutenant General Abdul Fattah Al-Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces, resulting in hundreds of deaths, injuries, infrastructure damage, and displacement of numerous citizens towards the borders.
In contrast, Sudanese authorities emphasize that the closure of the Qulabat crossing is primarily aimed at preserving lives. The director of the police in Al-Qadarif state, Police Major-General Haqqi Siddiq, chairman of the state security committee, stated that halting passport renewal procedures and closing the crossing aims to protect Sudanese civilians from danger due to the fighting on the other side of the crossing.
Reports and sources confirm that around 500 Sudanese families are stranded at the Qulabat crossing in poor humanitarian conditions.
Ethiopia endured a devastating war in the Tigray region between rebels in the region and the government of Abiy Ahmed, which ended with the signing of a peace treaty months ago, perceived by some as fragile. The war resulted in thousands of deaths and injuries among both military personnel and civilians, in addition to the displacement of tens of thousands and various sexual violations against victims.