Death toll rises to 97 as fighting rages in Sudan

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Clashes in Sudan’s capital Khartoum raged for a third day, raising the death toll to 97, a doctors’ union said in a statement on Monday.

Hundreds of civilians were wounded in the violence, Xinhua news agency quoted the statement as saying.

The tense situation in Sudan has sparked broad concerns in the international community, with the UN, the African Union, the Arab League, and other international organizations have called for an immediate ceasefire.

Violent clashes erupted on April 15 between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Khartoum and other cities, with the two sides accusing each other of initiating the conflict.

The tension between the two military forces has escalated since April 12 in the Merowe region in northern Sudan, after the RSF moved military vehicles to a location near the military air base there, a move that the army considered illegal.

Deep differences have emerged between the Sudanese army and the RSF, particularly regarding the latter’s integration into the army as stipulated in a framework agreement signed between military and civilian leaders on December 5, 2022.

The RSF was formed in 2013 and has its origins in the notorious Janjaweed militia that brutally fought off rebels in Darfur.

Since then, RSF leader Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo has built a powerful force that has intervened in conflicts in Yemen and Libya and controls some of Sudan’s gold mines.

It has also been accused of human rights abuses, including the massacre of more than 120 protesters in June 2019.

This fighting is the latest episode in bouts of tension that followed the ousting of long-serving President Omar al-Bashir in 2019.

There were huge street protests calling for an end to his near-three decade of rule and the army mounted a coup to get rid of him.

But the civilians continued to demand a role in the plan to move toward democratic rule.

A joint military-civilian government was then established but that was overthrown in another coup in October 2021.

And since then the rivalry between Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who is the head of the armed forces and in effect the country’s president. and Gen Dagalo has intensified.

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