As civilian deaths mount in Sudan military feud, Communists call for immediate ceasefire
This satellite photo by Planet Labs PBC shows two burning planes at Khartoum International Airport, Sudan, Sunday April 16, 2023. | Planet Labs PBC via AP

Sudanese Communists are calling for an “immediate” ceasefire as the civilian casualty count in the bitter struggle for power between Sudan’s army and a notorious paramilitary force hit almost 100 dead and around 600 wounded.

The fierce fighting in the capital, Khartoum, and other areas has dealt a new blow to hopes for a transition to democracy and raises fears of a wider conflict.

The clashes capped months of heightened tensions between the military, headed by General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, and its partner-turned-rival, the Rapid Support Forces group (RSF), led by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.

Those tensions had delayed a deal with political parties to get the country back to its short-lived transition to democracy, which was derailed by an October 2021 military coup.

There were chaotic scenes in the Khartoum, with fighters firing from truck-mounted machine guns in densely-populated neighborhoods.

“Fire and explosions are everywhere,” said Amal Mohamed, a doctor in a public hospital in Omdurman.

“We haven’t seen such battles in Khartoum before,” said resident Abdel-Hamid Mustafa.

By the end of the day, the military ruled out negotiations with the RSF, instead calling for the dismantling of what it called a “rebellious militia.” The head of the paramilitary group responded by branding the armed forces chief a “criminal.”

The tough language signaled that the conflict between the former allies, who jointly orchestrated the 2021 coup, was likely to continue.

The Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) said: “The victims of the continuing violence and counter-violence are the people who have been striving for the continuation of the revolution and achieving full democratic civil power.

“The way back to normal life begins with an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire, the departure of armies and militias from the cities and villages, and keeping them far from citizens’ gatherings in towns and rural areas.”

It explained that the conflict was “a continuation of the struggle over power and the country’s wealth, encouraged by some foreign powers and being carried out by armed groups subservient to these foreign powers.”

The SCP said: “These bloody clashes and their continuation is what our party has been warning about, and they are spreading confusion and fear among citizens.”

The Communist Party said that the only basis for ending the current crisis and to reclaim the Sudanese revolution of April 2021 was the “unity of our people, all the patriotic forces, the forces for radical change, and the resistance committees.”

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Roger McKenzie
Roger McKenzie

Roger McKenzie is the International Editor of Morning Star, Britain’s daily socialist newspaper. He is the author of the book "African Uhuru: The Fight for African Freedom in the Rise of the Global South" published by Manifesto Press.