Sudan’s power struggle

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CDS Africa

Administrator . Updated May 30, 2023

Two factions in Sudan have been engaged in violent clashes since 15th April, 2023 which has plunged the country into chaos and on the verge of a civil war. According to Reuters, it is estimated that about 100,000 people have fled across the border amid gunfire and explosions. The Rapid Support Forces and the Sudanese Military have been struggling for more power, and this situation has led to the displacement and loss of lives of many innocent Sudanese and other nationals living in Sudan.

CDS AFRICA condemns the violence happening in Sudan and urges the factions involved to call a truce and end the needless bloodshed, destruction of property and the further dissipation in the country.

This is not the first time Sudan is facing such major crisis. In 2003, a conflict in Sudan's western Darfur region flared, pitting rebel forces against government backed militia known as “Janjaweed”. This resulted in the deaths of some 300,000 people and displaced millions. Pockets of violence persisted even after a peace deal was reached in 2020.

The international community appeared helpless or unconcerned while many died as the conflict raged and further worsened. Organizations such as the United Nations, the African Union, and the Southern African Development Community could clearly have done more in averting the situation.

A similar situation happened in the 1994 Rwanda ethnic genocide, which started small as a threat and escalated within a period of 100 days into a catastrophe that led to the death of hundreds of thousands of people. This is a clear testament of what happens when the world turns a blind eye to conflicts and fails to intervene timeously.  

CDS AFRICA, therefore, recognizes the militating effects this situation will have on the future of Sudan, and as a matter of urgency implores both sides to comply with the nationwide ceasefire agreements to prevent the further destruction of lives and property.

The Sudanese Army has governed Sudan since a coup d’état in 2021, which overthrew a transitional government installed after the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir two years earlier with the help of the Rapid Support Forces. The origin of the 2023 conflict is a power struggle between these two former allies, and at the centre of all the violence are the ordinary civilians. There have been very disturbing reports of multiple airstrikes, gunfire, explosions and heavy fighting in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum. Despite the many calls for a ceasefire from international communities, the conflict still ravages on with reports of violations from both sides.

Currently, there is also a looming refugee crisis on Sudan’s borders with thousands fleeing the conflict, as well as a shutdown of aid routes to the country where two-thirds of the population depend heavily on external assistance. With many cities such as Khartoum cut off from electricity and water supply, many countries have also evacuated their nationals. These conditions provide very fertile grounds for a humanitarian crisis and may expand to other cities becoming an even larger catastrophe.

Nonetheless, the situation is not a hopeless one, as Sudan’s warring rivals have agreed to send representatives for negotiations in Saudi Arabia intended to focus on establishing a stable and reliable cease-fire monitored by national and international observers.

CDS AFRICA entreats both warring factions to come to the negotiation table and commit to a resolution that is in the interest of Sudan. We also implore the African Union, Southern African Development Community and all other African stakeholder organizations to take the lead in fostering diplomatic efforts in Sudan and prevent interferences that are not favorable to the people of Sudan.

We further entreat the United Nations to go beyond humanitarian aid of supplying food and shelter but ensure also that peace is brokered between the Rapid Support Forces and the Sudanese Military to provide a permanent solution to the conflict.

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CDS Africa

We lead research, advocacy and initiatives to advance democracy and policies to bring about socio-economic development.

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