Sudan’s disintegration after one year of war

8.5 million people have been displaced, and 48 million are at risk of famine.
Sudan has been brought to its knees by a war between the regular army and rival paramilitaries that has killed thousands of people and displaced 8.5 million more.

Here are the major developments in the conflict, which has pushed the country of 48 million people to the brink of famine.

April 2023: Fighting erupts

On April 15, 2023, explosions rock Khartoum as Sudan’s de facto leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan’s regular army clashes with his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

Tensions between the two, who were behind the 2021 coup that deposed strongman Omar al-Bashir, had been rising for weeks.

The fighting occurred after a deal to return to civilian rule fell apart due to disagreements over how to integrate the RSF into the regular army.

The RSF quickly takes control of Khartoum’s airport, presidential palace, and other key locations.

Fighting also erupts in the western region of Darfur, which is still recovering from a major conflict that began in 2003 when Khartoum deployed Arab militias known as Janjaweed (later renamed the RSF) to crush a rebellion by non-Arab minorities.

Foreign countries rush to evacuate their citizens from Sudan.

The United States and Saudi Arabia agree to a 72-hour truce, but it is quickly violated, as are subsequent truce agreements.

May: Talks fall apart

In May, the army and RSF participate in cease-fire talks brokered by the US and Saudi Arabia in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah.

However, the army withdraws on May 31, accusing the RSF of failing to uphold its truce commitments.

Its forces bombarded the paramilitary positions in Khartoum.

June: US sanctions

On June 1, the United States announced sanctions against businesses linked to both the army and paramilitaries, as well as visa restrictions on officials from both warring parties.

Paramilitaries claim to have seized the country’s most important military complex in Khartoum.

In mid-June, one of the war’s most visible victims is captured and assassinated: Khamis Abdullah Abakar, governor of West Darfur state, who criticised the RSF in an interview with a Saudi TV channel.

July: War crimes probe

The International Criminal Court has opened an investigation into alleged war crimes in Sudan, including sexual and gender-based crimes.

By mid-August, the war has spread to two new cities: El Fasher in North Darfur and El Fula in West Kordofan.

According to the UN, famine has spread throughout Sudan.

September: Unrest in Port Sudan

In September, the army clashes with tribal militiamen in the strategically located Red Sea city of Port Sudan, where the army-aligned government has sought refuge.

Peace talks sponsored by the United States and Saudi Arabia resume on October 26 in Jeddah, but no ceasefire agreement has been reached.

December: Gains for paramilitaries

The paramilitaries take control of central Al-Jazira state, which had previously served as a relative safe haven.

Sudan expels diplomats from the United Arab Emirates amid allegations that the wealthy Gulf country is providing military aid to the RSF.

January: Sudan quits regional bloc

Sudan quit the east African bloc IGAD in January after inviting Burhan’s rival, paramilitary chief Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, to a gathering.

According to UN estimates, the war has uprooted nearly eight million people, with more than 1.5 million fleeing to Chad and other neighbouring countries.

February: agreement to hold talks

The warring parties agree to meet for talks to facilitate the delivery of desperately needed aid.

The US hopes that the talks will take place after the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which concluded earlier this week.

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