Rival Sudan generals harden tone amid ceasefire efforts

The heads of Sudan’s warring military factions have vowed to escalate fighting against each other amid regional efforts to end the brutal conflict in the country.

Army chief Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) commander Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, made the remarks on Monday during the 68th anniversary of Sudan’s independence.

Gen Hemedti said “we will pursue the putschists”, referring to the army. He vowed to “end this war in favour of our people soon and establish a state founded on principles of equal citizenship without discrimination”.

“The enemy must concede defeat in this war as our forces have made major victories in Khartoum, Darfur, Kordofan and Gezira states”, he said.

The RSF leader pledged to protect civilians in the central state of Gezira, which his paramilitary group seized last month. He vowed that those responsible for reported human rights violations would be brought to justice.

For his part, Gen Burhan said the country’s regular armed forces “will be victorious” and “liberate Sudan from the hands of traitors and mercenaries”.

He ruled out the possibility of a peace deal with the RSF until the group vacates the urban areas it seized in April 2023.

The pair’s belligerent comments came despite them both expressing readiness to hold a face-to-face meeting this month, which would be the first since the conflict in Sudan broke out in April last year.

Gen Burhan also criticised the leaders of Djibouti, Ethiopia and Uganda for meeting Gen Hemedti last month, saying they were “interfering in our affairs”.

At least 12,000 people have been killed and an estimated six million others displaced in the war in Sudan, according to the United Nations.

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