HAPPENING NOW: At least 56 killed, hundreds injured in clashes across Sudan as paramilitary group claims control of presidential palace

Heavy smoke bellows above buildings in the vicinity of the Khartoum's airport on April 15, 2023, amid clashes in the Sudanese capital.

Heavy smoke bellows above buildings in the vicinity of the Khartoum’s airport on April 15, 2023, amid clashes in the Sudanese capital.

At least 56 people have been killed and 595 injured in clashes across Sudan, according to the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors.

Sudan’s paramilitary chief Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo claims to have seized most of Khartoum’s official sites after clashes erupted between his armed group and the country’s military on Saturday.

“The Rapid Support Forces control more than 90 percent of strategic sites in Khartoum,” Dagalo said in an interview with Sky News Arabia, referring to his paramilitary group.

The country’s military leader, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, disputed Dagalo’s claims and said the military has maintained control over government sites.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Dagalo — also known as Hemedti — described Burhan as a “criminal,” accusing him of instigating fighting on Saturday, which led to three civilian deaths and dozens wounded.

Armed clashes were reported throughout Khartoum, including the presidential palace and the capital’s army headquarters. Medical sources at a hospital in central Khartoum told CNN Saturday afternoon the hospital has received dozens of wounded civilians and military personnel in the last several hours.

Sudan’s military said the Rapid Support Forces infiltrated Khartoum airport and burned civilian aircraft.

“To our honorable people, the rebellious forces are continuing with their cycles of traitorous plotting and attacks against our country and its national sovereignty. Since this morning, your Armed Forces sons have been fighting with their lives for our nation’s rights and dignity,” the Official Spokesman of the Armed Forces said in a statement.

Dagalo’s meteoric rise to power began when he was a leader of Sudan’s notorious Janjaweed forces, implicated in human rights violations in the Darfur conflict of the early 2000s. His group also killed at least 118 people in pro-democracy protests in June 2019 after troops opened fire at a peaceful sit-in.

Traitorous plotting’

Sudan’s army accused the Rapid Support Forces of “traitorous plotting” against the country, and has demanded its dissolution.

There will be “no negotiation or dialogue before dissolving Hemedti’s rebel militia,” the Sudanese army said in a statement. It also issued a wanted poster for Dagalo, calling him a “fugitive criminal.”

UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on the leaders of the RSF and Sudanese Armed Forces to “immediately cease hostilities,” while the UN Security Council released a statement stressing “the importance that humanitarian access is maintained and the safety of UN personnel is ensured.”

The African Union also issued a statement urging “the political and military parties to find a fair political solution to the crisis.”

The General Command of the Sudanese Army issued a statement calling on civilians to stay indoors as warplanes will be conducting sweeps looking for Rapid Support Forces.

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