The year 2023 unfolded as a harrowing chapter in Sudan’s history, marked by catastrophic events that transformed it into the nation’s bleakest year. A relentless war erupted between the army and the Rapid Support Forces, originating from the heart of the capital, Khartoum, and spreading to over 60% of the country’s territory. The toll was staggering, with approximately 12,000 lives lost and over 7 million people displaced within and beyond Sudan’s borders.
Amid the ninth month of continuous conflict, a glimmer of hope emerges on the horizon. Many Sudanese cling to the possibility that 2024 will bring positive news, putting an end to the extensive destruction caused by the war. Intensive efforts from local, regional, and international entities are underway to cease the fighting and alleviate the humanitarian crisis affecting millions of Sudanese.
Chronicle of Events
April 5, 2023 –
Postponement of the final agreement signing for the civilian power transfer, based on the framework agreement signed in December 2022. The agreement aimed to establish a unified professional army under civilian authority, facing significant opposition from the ousted regime, which threatened to undermine the accord by force.
April 15, 2023 –
Sudden outbreak of fighting between the army and the Rapid Support Forces, commencing with an attack on a camp affiliated with the Rapid Support Forces in the Sports City in southern Khartoum. The conflict rapidly expanded, encompassing all parts of the three capital cities – Khartoum, Omdurman, and Khartoum Bahri.
April 21, 2023 –
Large populations from neighborhoods in the capital began evacuating their homes, heading south towards Al Jazirah State, and east and north towards Port Sudan, Northern States, and the Nile River State.
April 22, 2023 –
The United States, and European Union, along with several Arab, African, and Asian countries, evacuated their citizens from Khartoum.
April 25, 2023 –
Rapid Support Forces declare control over strategic sites, including the Presidential Palace and significant portions of the General Command of the Army and other locations in central Khartoum.
April 26, 2023 –
Dozens of figures from Omar al-Bashir’s regime wanted for international justice and local cases, are removed from prisons.
May 2023 –
Widespread looting and bombardment resulted in the closure of over 80% of hospitals and around 400 industrial facilities.
June 2023 –
Rapid Support Forces expand their control to include strategic military sites, imposing a severe blockade on armored forces.
July 2023 –
Escalation of fighting in the Darfur region leads to Rapid Support Forces controlling over 70% of the region’s areas.
August 2023 –
Significant deterioration in the humanitarian situation, especially for those trapped in combat zones in Khartoum and Darfur.
December 2023 –
The conflict extends to Al Jazirah State, and Rapid Support Forces advance south towards Sennar and Blue Nile States, after securing control over Wad Medani, the capital of Al Jazirah.
Devastating Losses After 9 Months of Conflict
Approximately 12,000 lives were lost due to aerial bombardment and ground clashes.
Destruction of over 200 historical, administrative, and service buildings in Khartoum.
Cessation of education for over 19 million students, with universities and schools closed for the ninth consecutive month. The Sudanese pound loses 90% of its value, plummeting from 550 pounds to the dollar to over a thousand pounds.
Approximately 4 million workers in the public and private sectors lose their jobs due to the war. Economic sources estimate Sudan’s economic losses surpassing $100 billion by the end of October.
The events of 2023 have left Sudan in a state of despair, with lives lost, infrastructure decimated, and the economy shattered. As the nation looks towards 2024, the hope for a resolution to the conflict and a restoration of normalcy persists, fueled by the tireless efforts of local, regional, and international stakeholders.