Sudan Crisis: Understanding the power struggle at the heart of the violence


A deadly conflict has erupted in the capital, Khartoum, and other cities in Sudan as powerful rival commanders battle for control, raising concerns over a potential nationwide civil war.

While the death toll has already surpassed 300, thousands of residents have sustained injuries to various severities. An internationally brokered ceasefire collapsed within minutes of its supposed start at 1600 GMT on Tuesday.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on the warring generals to implement a three-day ceasefire marking the Eid al-Fitr holiday, in order to allow thousands of trapped residents to escape and access food, water, medical treatment, and other essential supplies.

Here’s a simple guide to the conflict.

An intense power struggle at the heart of the fighting

Clashes broke out on Saturday last week after several days of tension between Sudan’s army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). While the fighting is largely concentrated in Khartoum, violence is reported across the country.

The two groups used to be allies and together in October 2021, orchestrated a coup, nearly ending a sensitive transition to civilian rule that had been started after the removal of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir in 2019.

Read | Major Updates: Sudan fighting enters sixth day, death toll tops 300

Tensions increased over a proposed integration of the paramilitary force into the regular army in an effort to address the political crisis the coup had triggered. The key question is who is in control and who would be the military’s commander-in-chief during an integration period.

The protagonists in the conflict are General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the leader of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), and General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo – commonly addressed as Hemedti – his deputy and the RSF leader.



Salma Hussain is an MBBS doctor who loves to write on health-related topics. Apart from this, writing on sports and entertainment topics is her hobby. She is playing the role of an important writer in Arab Post.

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