As the Sudanese nation commemorates its 68th anniversary of independence, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional organization comprising eight African states, intensifies its efforts to bring General al-Burhan, the leader of the Sudanese army, and Mohamed Hamdane Daglo, the commander of paramilitary forces, to the negotiation table. Since the commencement of hostilities on April 15th, the two leaders have not met, and their ongoing dispute over legality and power remains a significant impediment to resolution.
On January 1st, amidst the anniversary celebrations, both leaders engaged in a war of declarations, foreshadowing a potential meeting in Djibouti later in the week. Despite previous unsuccessful mediation attempts, including one scheduled last Thursday in Djibouti that ultimately did not materialize, each faction took the opportunity to castigate the other.
General al-Burhan, the army commander, enumerated the alleged transgressions of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), accusing them of destroying infrastructure, killing citizens, looting funds, occupying homes, raping women, displacing villagers, and exterminating some. He asserted that these actions were facilitated by some within the nation seeking power, as well as with the support of certain regional and international actors, whose intentions and objectives are known.
Furthermore, the army commander issued a warning to any country supporting or harboring General Hemedti, the head of the paramilitaries. Meanwhile, Mohamed Hamdane Daglo, leading the paramilitary forces, called for the army to acknowledge its defeat, asserting that the RSF remains determined and capable of pursuing those responsible for the coup against civilian power.
“The army, which continues to beat the drums of war throughout the country, must admit its defeat after nine months of continuous military victories. It is time for the army leaders to halt their mobilization to destroy the country and prepare a political process to exit the war,” Daglo declared.
Despite the alleged atrocities, Hemedti positioned himself as a defender of democracy and civilian power in Sudan. He advocated for an inclusive dialogue leading to a new national unity government, asserting that the war had been imposed upon him. In his speech, he called for the reform of the army.
As both leaders steadfastly maintain their positions, each striving to demonstrate their upper hand in the conflict, the diplomatic landscape remains complex, with the hope that negotiations in Djibouti may offer a glimmer of resolution to the protracted Sudanese crisis.