The head of Sudan’s army warned Thursday (Aug. 31) that his country risks disintegration if the conflict stalled.
Sudan was plunged into chaos after monthslong tensions between the military, led by Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces, commanded by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, exploded into open fighting on April 15.
"We are facing a war, and if it is not resolved quickly Sudan will be fragmented," Burhan said in a speech addressed to the country's police force in the Red Sea city of Port Sudan.
Burhan’s remarks echo those he made in Egypt on Tuesday (Aug. 29), the general's first trip abroad since the conflict broke out.
During the visit, Burhan met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and discussed ways to end the fighting.
But neither gave any details about any potential initiatives or terms.
During a separate speech on Monday, Burhan ruled out any reconciliation with the RSF.
"I appeal to the rebels [Editor's note: The Rapid Support Forces fighters] to hand over their weapons because they are deceived and misguided. This war was invented to serve specific people. This war was all based on lies and will end soon because whatever was built on falsehood will not find support."
The nearly five-month conflict has reduced the capital, Khartoum, to an urban battlefield, with neither side managing to gain control of the city.
In the western Darfur region -- the scene of genocidal campaign in the early 2000s -- the conflict has morphed into ethnic violence, with the RSF and allied Arab militias attacking the so-called "African," i.e., non-Arab communities such as the Masalit who have formed self-defence groups. The latter makeup most victims of the violence.
The fighting is estimated to have killed at least 4,000 people, according to the U.N. human rights office, though activists and doctors on the ground say the toll is likely far higher.
More than 4.6 million people have been displaced, according to the U.N. migration agency.
Those include over 3.6 million who fled to safer areas inside Sudan and more than 1 million others who crossed into neighboring countries.