Sudan: Rapid Support Forces claim control of presidential palace

(CNN) Three people have been killed in open fighting amid long-standing tensions between Sudan’s military and paramilitary groups.

Clashes took place around the presidential palace and army headquarters in the capital Khartoum, witnesses said.

The paramilitary Rapid Support Force (RSF) claimed to be in control of the presidential palace and several airports.

The The group said it was retaliating against a surprise military attack on one of their bases.

But Sudan’s military chief said “all” strategic military bases were under military control.

“No one has been able to enter the army general command and all strategic bases are under control,” Abdel Fatah al-Burhan said in a statement.

Sudan’s military said it was fighting the RSF in Khartoum, accusing the group of a “treasonous plot” against the country.

The Sudanese doctors’ union reported at least three civilian deaths in the clashes.

Meanwhile, medical sources at a hospital in central Khartoum told CNN on Saturday afternoon that dozens of civilians and military personnel had been injured at the hospital in the past few hours.

The military has been in charge of Sudan since a 2021 coup that ended a power-sharing arrangement created following the ouster of longtime former president Omar al-Bashir.

Talks are underway to integrate the RSF into the military as part of a move to roll back civilian rule, but sources told CNN there are tensions over who will be the senior partner in the merger.

International calls for ‘immediate ceasefire’

Amid a volatile and uncertain situation on the ground, there are widespread calls for calm.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the outbreak of fighting.

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He called on the leaders of the RSF and the Sudanese armed forces to “immediately cease hostilities, restore peace and start a dialogue to resolve the current crisis”. Any further escalation in the fighting would have a devastating impact on civilians and further worsen an already precarious humanitarian situation. State of the Country.”

“Political and military parties must find a just political solution to the crisis,” the African Union said in a statement.

Sudan’s National Umma Party has also made a similar demand. The Islamic political party shared a statement with a list of points aimed at leaders of both sides, including an “immediate ceasefire on all engagement sites” and for both sides to restore “their previous positions before the conflict”.

The US ambassador to Sudan said he was sheltering himself amid clashes in the capital.

“I arrived in Khartoum late last night and woke up to the deeply disturbing sounds of gunfire and fighting,” Ambassador John Godfrey said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the situation in Khartoum was “fragile” when asked by a reporter for comment during a press conference in Vietnam.

“The main parties in Khartoum reached a very important framework agreement a few weeks ago on how to transition to a civilian government. There is real progress in trying to move that forward,” Blinken said on Saturday.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

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