Sudan’s army chief, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has issued a warning to the United Nations about the potential spillover of the months-long war in Sudan into the wider region. Speaking at the UN, al-Burhan called for international pressure to be placed on the paramilitary forces he is fighting, particularly the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), whom he wants designated as a terrorist organization. He suggested that the RSF has ties with Russia’s Wagner mercenaries and urged the international community to target their sponsors outside Sudan’s borders.
According to al-Burhan, the war in Sudan has become a threat to regional and international peace and security. He claimed that rebel groups in Sudan have sought support from outlaws and terrorist organizations in the region and beyond. He warned that this conflict could ignite a larger regional war, with dire consequences for peace and security.
The conflict in Sudan erupted on April 15 following the collapse of a plan to integrate the army and the RSF, led by al-Burhan’s former deputy, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti. Both sides have blamed each other for starting the war, which has spread from the capital, Khartoum, to other parts of the country, including Darfur. The violence has caused thousands of deaths, displaced millions of people, and poses a significant threat to regional stability.
Al-Burhan called on world powers to designate the RSF as terrorists, citing their involvement in various crimes, including killing, burning, rape, forced displacement, looting, and child recruitment. He emphasized the need for accountability and punishment for these crimes.
In a video message, RSF leader Hemedti expressed his forces’ readiness for a ceasefire and comprehensive political talks to end the conflict. He stated their commitment to the peaceful process and the passage of humanitarian aid. However, previous attempts at ceasefires and political negotiations have failed to bring an end to the bloodshed and the worsening humanitarian crisis.
The United States has recently imposed sanctions on RSF leaders, including senior commander Abdelrahim Hamdan Dagalo, for alleged abuses. Western powers, including the US, have also criticized al-Burhan. In 2021, al-Burhan sidelined the civilian leadership that had been part of a transitional power-sharing deal, which was established following mass protests against former leader Omar al-Bashir. Al-Burhan reiterated his commitment to transferring power to the people of Sudan and stated that the armed forces would permanently leave politics.
Efforts by Saudi Arabia and the US to secure a lasting ceasefire in Sudan have encountered obstacles due to parallel international initiatives in Africa and the Middle East. The resolution of the conflict remains a pressing issue with significant implications for the stability of Sudan and the wider region.