Newsdeck

IN THE WAR ZONE

Rebel mobilisation in Sudan’s South Kordofan raises fears of conflict spreading

An undated image of a Darfur gunman. (Photo: Albert González Farran / Unamid)

Residents of Sudan's South Kordofan State reported mobilisation by a large rebel force on Thursday, raising fear that internal conflict could spread in the country's southern regions.

  • Fighting has been concentrated in capital, Darfur
  • War has displaced more than 1.9 million people
  • Mediators in Jeddah proposing 24-hour truce – sources

The rebel force, the SPLM-N, is led by Abdelaziz al-Hilu, and is estimated to contain tens of thousands of men as well as heavy weaponry.

It is unclear what position Abdelaziz might take in the conflict that erupted in the capital Khartoum on April 15 between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), but its mobilisation raised fears of clashes, residents said.

SPLM-N forces had moved into several army camps around Kadugli, the capital of South Kordofan, prompting the army to reinforce its positions, they said, adding that the RSF had closed the road between Kadugli and El Obeid to the north, depriving the city of supplies.

In past months there had been skirmishes between the SPLM-N and the RSF.

In the capital Khartoum, where fighting has been concentrated, residents reported sporadic battles and air strikes on Thursday.

Those included clashes in the south of Khartoum around a military complex containing weapons factories where the army has been trying to regain control from its paramilitary rivals.

Reuters was not able to independently confirm the accounts.

The war has triggered a major humanitarian crisis that threatens to destabilise the region. More than 1.4 million people have been displaced within Sudan and a further 476,800 have fled into neighbouring countries.

LAWYER KILLED

Beyond the capital, unrest has flared in the western region of Darfur, already struggling with the impact of two decades of conflict and displacement.

In El Geneina in west Darfur, the city worst hit by recent violence, a lawyer who had worked on the cases of displaced people and eight members of his family were killed in an attack on their house earlier this week according to the Darfur Bar Association, a group that monitors the conflict.

A medical union reported that a new wave of attacks had begun on Wednesday in the city, which has been cut off from communications for several weeks.

Fighting in Khartoum and the adjoining cities of Bahri and Omdurman has intensified since a 12-day ceasefire between the army and RSF formally expired on June 3.

The recent ceasefire, brokered by Saudi Arabia and the United States at talks in Jeddah, had been repeatedly violated, but had allowed for the delivery of limited amounts of humanitarian aid.

Mediators told Reuters that a proposal had been put forward at indirect consultations in Jeddah for a 24-hour truce that would be more closely monitored than previous truces.

A US State Department spokesperson said on Wednesday there had been no formal resumption of talks in Jeddah but Washington remained “deeply engaged” with the two sides.

The conflict in Sudan derailed the launch of a transition towards civilian rule four years after a popular uprising ousted strongman President Omar al-Bashir.

The army and RSF, which together staged a coup in 2021, fell out over the chain of command and military restructuring plans under the transition.

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.7% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.3% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.3% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.3%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.