Amidst intensifying clashes between rival generals in Khartoum, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed grave concerns, stating that Sudan is on the verge of a "full-scale civil war." The ongoing war between the Sudanese military and the powerful paramilitary force poses a significant threat to regional stability, according to the secretary-general's deputy spokesperson, Farhan Haq.
Months of tension between military chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan and Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, erupted into open fighting, plunging Sudan into chaos. Health Minister Haitham Mohammed Ibrahim reported last month that the clashes have claimed over 3,000 lives and left more than 6,000 others injured. However, the actual death toll is expected to be significantly higher.
The conflict has triggered a mass displacement, with over 2.9 million people fleeing their homes within Sudan or seeking refuge in neighboring countries. The war has shattered hopes of a peaceful transition to democracy following the removal of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir in 2019, after a popular uprising.
The capital, Khartoum, and other urban areas have become battlegrounds, with fierce fighting reported south of the capital. Residents have witnessed heavy weaponry being used in the Kalaka neighborhood, accompanied by military aircraft overhead. Airstrikes have also caused devastation, including a recent attack in Omdurman that claimed the lives of at least 22 people.
Secretary-General Guterres condemned the indiscriminate violence and casualties in the western region of Darfur, where the conflict has taken an ethnic dimension. Reports indicate that the Rapid Support Forces and Arab militias have targeted non-Arab tribes, resulting in atrocities reminiscent of the earlier 2000s conflict. Entire towns and villages in West Darfur have been overrun, forcing tens of thousands to seek refuge in neighboring Chad, while reports of killings, sexual violence, and widespread destruction of property have emerged.
Clashes between the military and the Rapid Support Forces have also been reported in other Sudanese provinces, including North Kordofan, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile.