Clashes erupt in Sudan’s Al Jazira state before planned talks in Jeddah

Military surrounds the province on three sides in push to wrest back control of Wad Madani from the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces

Aboud village, in Al Jazirah state, after heavy rains and floods in August 2022. The army has launched raids in the state in an attempt to dislodge the RSF. AP
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Fierce clashes between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces have resumed in Wad Madani, capital of central Al Jazira state, despite reports of renewed talks between the warring parties in Jeddah.

The Sudanese army, led by Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan, has surrounded the province on three sides in recent days, local media reported.

About 40,000 troops and volunteers are believed to have been readied last month to wrest back control of Wad Madani, which was captured by the RSF in December.

The war began in April 2023 when long-simmering tension between Gen Al Burhan and RSF leader Gen Mohammed Dagalo culminated in street battles in Sudan's capital Khartoum.

Fighting has spread to other parts of the country, particularly urban areas and the Darfur region.

Sources told the Sudan Tribune that army planes began to conduct raids on RSF-controlled areas in Shabarqa town, about 25km east of Wad Madani, on Sunday morning.

The RSF has gained control of most of Darfur and has laid siege to El Fasher, the only provincial capital in Darfur that they do not hold, where about 500,000 civilians have taken refuge.

The latest fighting comes as Saudi Arabia prepares to restart peace talks between the two sides in the coming week in Jeddah.

The US and Saudi Arabia have already supported several rounds of negotiations in Jeddah over the past year without success.

The coming talks in Jeddah were first confirmed on April 16 by special US envoy for Sudan Tom Perriello, who said that the Biden administration “welcomes the decision of Saudi Arabia to restart Jeddah talks within the next three weeks”.

Updated: May 06, 2024, 10:45 AM