Sudan in crisis: What you need to know and why Nigerians mostly students face challenges getting out

Sudan is currently experiencing a violent power struggle between the army and the paramilitary group, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The conflict erupted on April 15th, 2023, after weeks of tension over the proposed integration of the RSF into the military.

The key question is who will be in control and the military’s commander-in-chief during the integration period, which has led to a power struggle for control of the country. The fighting is mostly happening in the capital, Khartoum, but clashes are happening throughout the country. As of the first three days of the conflict, at least 185 people have been killed, and thousands have been injured.

The RSF was created in 2013 and evolved from the Janjaweed militias, which are accused of war crimes in the Darfur region. The group was used by the government during the Darfur conflict in the 2000s to help put down a rebellion. A law legitimizing the RSF as an independent security force was passed in 2017.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan

The civilian rule that began after the 2019 removal of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir is now in jeopardy. The current de facto ruler of Sudan, Al-Burhan, a career soldier from Northern Sudan, took the top job after the coup. His number two, Dagalo, from Darfur’s camel-herding Arab Rizeigat people, assumed responsibility.

Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo

However, tensions between the two leaders increased as the army and civilian leaders attempted to hammer out a deal to end the political crisis brought on by the coup. The integration of the RSF into the regular army became a significant sticking point.

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Despite being a longtime ally of former President al-Bashir, the RSF’s leader, Dagalo, took part in overthrowing the president when the 2019 uprising broke out.

 

Amidst the conflict, Nigerian students stranded in Sudan are to be evacuated after the Nigerian government approved $1.2 million with other Nigerians stranded. Luxury buses were hired to transport stranded Nigerians from Khartoum to Egypt, from where they were to be airlifted to Nigeria.

However, there were controversies along the way as the drivers hired stopped in the Sudanese desert because of payment issues. The Nigerian Air Force, Air Peace, and other airlines have received clearance to fly to Egypt to continue the airlifting of evacuees.

The government also said arrangements are being concluded to airlift all Nigerians who have already escaped on their own to safety in neighboring countries.