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Sudan rival generals trade blame for deadly fighting

Sudan rival generals trade blame for deadly fighting in TV interviews
3 min read
16 April, 2023
Amid clashes in Khartoum which has killed dozens, Sudan’s rival generals Abdul Fattah Burhan and Mohammed Hamdan Daglo have accused each other of starting the fighting.
Mohamed Hamdan Daglo accused ruling General Abdul Fattah Burhan of starting deadly fighting in Khartoum [Getty]

Sudan’s rival generals Abdul Fattah Burhan and Mohammed Hamdan Daglo have traded accusations in interviews with the Arabic news network Al-Jazeera as deadly fighting raged in Khartoum between the Sudanese army, led by Burhan, and Daglo’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

The two generals both led a coup in October 2021 against a civilian government led by former Prime Minister Abdulla Hamdok but have been increasingly been at loggerheads in recent months.

On Sunday a three hour ceasefire was agreed between the two warring sides.

Sudanese ruling General Burhan told Al-Jazeera that the fighting, which has killed at least 56 civilians since Saturday, showed that there should not be any force on the ground not subordinate to the armed forces.

He blamed the RSF for attacking army bases in Khartoum’s Guest Palace and said that he was surprised when RSF forces attacked his home at 9 am GMT.

Burhan also said that RSF forces had entered Khartoum International Airport via the Hajj and Umrah building but added that they had been “dealt with” by army troops.

The general, who chairs Sudan’s Transitional Sovereignty Council (TSC), said that the army had secured its command headquarters and “no one” could enter.

Burhan said that Sudanese troops from outside Khartoum would enter the capital if fighting continued.

‘We have not attacked anyone’

General Daglo, on the other hand, told Al-Jazeera that his RSF forces had taken control of the Presidential Palace, the army headquarters, and all Khartoum’s airports.

The feared RSF grew out of Sudanese pro-government militias known as the Janjaweed, who are accused of committing atrocities in Sudan’s western Darfur region.

Daglo, who is also known as Hemedti, called Burhan “a criminal and a liar who would destroy Sudan” and said the RSF would “bring him and his aides to justice”.

He said that the RSF had no quarrel with the Sudanese army and had not started the fighting.

“We have not attacked anyone and our fighting is a response to us being besieged and attacked,” he said.

Daglo, who is Burhan’s deputy on the TSC, said that Sudanese troops had attacked the RSF first.

“We were surprised when large numbers of troops surrounded our forces in the camps.”

He accused Burhan of carrying out a “conspiracy” on behalf of supporters of Sudan’s longtime autocratic leader Omar al-Bashir, who was ousted following a popular uprising in 2019.

Daglo claimed that over 100 Sudanese officers and “thousands” of soldiers had defected to the RSF.

Fighting is ongoing in Khartoum and elsewhere in Sudan, with terrified residents of the capital unable to leave their homes.