- Fighting in Sudan has killed hundreds of people, sparked a humanitarian crisis with thousands fleeing their homes and prompted foreign countries to evacuate their citizens for fear of an all-out civil war in an already unstable region.
What triggered the violence?
- Tension had been building for months between Sudan’s army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which together toppled a civilian government in an October 2021 coup.
- The friction was brought to a head by an internationally-backed plan to launch a new transition with civilian parties. A final deal was due to be signed earlier in April, on the fourth anniversary of the overthrow of long-ruling Islamist autocrat Omar al-Bashir in a popular uprising.
- Both the army and the RSF were required to cede power under the plan and two issues proved particularly contentious: one was the timetable for the RSF to be integrated into the regular armed forces, and the second was the timing for when the army would be formally placed under civilian oversight.
- When fighting broke out, both sides blamed the other for provoking the violence.
- Owing to its strategic location on the Red Sea, access to the Nile River, the vast swath of gold reserves and agriculture potential, the third largest African nation has long been coveted by outside powers, including its neighbours, the Gulf countries, Russia and the Western nations.
- Sudan’s geographic location is crucial as it borders seven countries — Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya, Chad, the Central African Republic, Eritrea and South Sudan.
- Therefore, many analysts fear that the ongoing war between the military and RSF would spill over into neighbouring countries, which are already mired in their own internal conflicts, causing destabilisation of the entire region.