What Triggered the Sudanese Conflict?

Fighting broke out between the troops of Sudan’s two most prominent generals over the weekend. The leader of the armed forces, General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, and the commander of the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF), General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, had been at odds for some weeks. They collaborated to topple the government just eighteen months ago, during Sudan’s transition to democracy. Just in Khartoum, the capital, each of these men possesses tens of thousands of soldiers. Despite mounting international pressure, they have stated time and time again that they will not talk or cease fighting.


There have been talks in recent months to recommence the transition to a democratic government structure. Since the toppling of the government in October 2021, the procedure has been paused. The armed forces and the RSF inked an agreement with pro-democracy and civilian groups in December in response to mounting international pressure. However, many significant political issues remained unresolved under the accord. Over the course of protracted talks to obtain a final agreement, tensions between Burhan and Dagalo grew worse. The primary points of contention are who would be in charge of fighters and weaponry and how the RSF would be integrated into the armed forces.


The RSF of Dagalo reacted forcefully to both pro-democracy activists and tribal strife. However, he declared that he was in favor of the shift to democracy. He attacked Burhan in March, claiming that military chiefs were reluctant to cede control. Analysts contended that Dagalo is attempting to conceal the negative image of his paramilitary group. During the Darfur crisis, it was charged with war crimes.

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