New York, 17 April 2023 (TDI): Following the ongoing clash on Sudan between armed forces and a paramilitary group, Switzerland along with the United Nations called upon the warring parties to end the clashes immediately.
The reports of the armed clashes are of grave concern. Switzerland has urged both parties to cease hostilities, restore peace and return to dialogue.
The Security Council (SC) has also condemned the violence. It has asked the Sudanese authorities to resolve the issue through negotiations.
The Security Council’s statement expressed high concerns regarding clashes and the loss of precious lives and injuries, including amongst civilians.
The members of SC have asked the Sudanese armed forces and a paramilitary group, Rapid Support Group (RSG) to cease the hostilities and return to dialogues to resolve the crisis.
The security of UN personnel should be ensured, and humanitarian access should be maintained. The members of SC also reiterated their commitment to unity, sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of the Republic of Sudan.
The Sudan military and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group are engaged in vicious clashes in the capital city of Sudan, Khartoum. The violent clashes have raised the fear of a potential civil war in the country.
The fighting began on 15 April. So far it has claimed the lives of at least 56 civilians. The tension started to build between the warring groups about a month back.
The paramilitary group, Rapid Support Group claims to have taken control of the Presidential Palace and Khartoum International Airport in an apparent coup attempt. On the other hand, Military Chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has rejected the claims.
What is RSF?
The Rapid Support Group evolved from Janjaweed militias. The group was involved in the conflict in the 2000s in the Darfur region. It was used by the government of President Omar al-Bashir to help the army put down a rebellion.
The clash in Sudan displaced 2.5 million people and killed 300,000. The International Court of Justice accused government and militia commanders of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
The militia group grew and evolved into RSF in 2013. In 2015, the RSF group along with the Sudanese army began sending troops to fight in Yemen with Saudi and Emirati forces.
In the same year, the group was granted the status of a regular force. A law passed in 2017 legitimized the RSF as an independent security force.
In a report in 2015, Human Rights Watch described the group as “men with no mercy” owing to the serious war crimes and crimes against humanity, it committed over the years.
Source of Tension between Army and RSF
The Sudanese army and pro-democracy groups have demanded the integration of RSF into the regular armed forces. According to some sources, the RSF is resisting integration under the pretext of losing its power.
The final signing of a new transition agreement was due on April 1. However, the negotiation process between both parties heightened the tension.