Sudan, the largest country in Africa, has been in a state of political and economic turmoil for decades. The country has been plagued by civil wars, economic instability, and political unrest, leading to a humanitarian crisis that has affected millions of people.
An aggressive power struggle in the country’s military leadership is the root cause of the fighting that has broken out in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, and other parts of the nation. The regular military and a paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) are engaged in combat.
The recent violence came about after RSF members' redeployment around the nation last week, which is perceived as a threat by the army.
Outlining the trajectory of the crisis
The ongoing crisis began in December 2018 when protests erupted across the country in response to the rising cost of living. The government's decision to cut subsidies on basic goods such as bread and fuel was also partly responsible.
The protests quickly turned into demands for the removal of then-President Omar al-Bashir, who had been in power for 30 years. In April 2019, the military overthrew al-Bashir in a coup, leading to a transitional government that was meant to guide Sudan towards a democratic election.
However, the military and civilian leaders have struggled to agree on how to share power, leading to continued protests and violence. The situation has been further complicated by conflicts between different groups within Sudan.
The Darfur region in the west has been the site of ongoing violence between government forces and rebel groups for years. The conflict has resulted in the displacement of millions of people. They now live in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) or refugees in neighboring countries.
The crisis has also led to a severe economic downturn, with Sudan experiencing high inflation rates and a shortage of basic goods such as food and medicine.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened the situation, with limited healthcare resources and a lack of access to vaccines. In October 2021, the Sudanese military took control of the government once again, dissolving the transitional government and detaining the prime minister and other officials.The military has announced a state of emergency and imposed a curfew, leading to more protests and violence.
Sudan has been governed by a council of generals since the 2021 coup, which is commanded by the two military personnel at the focus of the conflict. General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the commander of the armed forces and de facto ruler of the nation, and Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, his deputy and commander of the RSF.
Their diverging opinions on the country's direction and contentions towards civilian decree have exacerbated the current crisis.
Mapping consequences of the crisis
The international community has condemned the military takeover, with the United Nations and several countries calling for the release of political prisoners and a return to civilian rule. The African Union has suspended Sudan's membership, and the United States and the United Kingdom have imposed sanctions on Sudanese officials.
Despite the fact that the conflict seems to be centred around the control of important sites, a large portion of it takes place in metropolitan areas, making civilians the unintended victims.
The location of the RSF bases is not defined, but it appears that their fighters have entered heavily populated regions. There are likely to have been civilian casualties as a result of airstrikes conducted by the Sudanese air force in the capital, a city of more than six million people. On Sunday, both sides agreed to a brief respite in the fighting so that individuals might flee the conflict.
The crisis in Sudan has had a devastating impact on the country's people. Millions of Sudanese are facing food insecurity, with limited access to clean water, sanitation, and healthcare. IDPs and refugees are particularly vulnerable, with many living in overcrowded camps with poor living conditions.
The crisis has also had an impact on neighboring countries, with refugees fleeing to Chad, Ethiopia, and South Sudan. The influx of refugees has put a strain on the resources of these countries, leading to further humanitarian crises.
To address the crisis in Sudan, a long-term solution is needed that addresses the root causes of the conflict and promotes stability and democracy. This includes addressing issues of governance, human rights, and economic development, as well as the conflicts between different groups within Sudan.
The international community has a crucial role to play in supporting Sudan's transition towards democracy and stability. This includes providing humanitarian assistance to those affected by the crisis, supporting the efforts of civil society organizations and human rights defenders, and providing diplomatic and economic support to the transitional government.
The crisis in Sudan is a complex and multifaceted issue that requires a long-term solution. The situation has had a devastating impact on the citizens and has led to a humanitarian crisis that affects millions. The international community must continue to support Sudan's transition towards stability and democracy, promote human rights, and address the root causes of the conflict.
Only then can Sudan begin to move towards a more peaceful and prosperous future for its people.
Edited By - Adedamola Aresbegola
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