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Sudan: Army says senior rebel commander killed amid siege

June 14, 2024

The army said hundreds were killed and injured, including senior RSF commander Ali Yagoub Gibril. The RSF siege of El Fasher city has opened up a new front in the ongoing conflict.

A woman and baby at the Zamzam displacement camp, close to El Fasher in North Darfur, Sudan in January 2024.
The rebels' siege of El Fasher in North Darfur has become the latest flashpoint in the war, ongoing for over a yearImage: Mohamed Zakaria/REUTERS

A leading rebel commander was among those killed in the besieged north Darfur city of El Fasher, the latest flashpoint in Sudan's ongoing civil war, the army said on Friday.

In a social media statement, the Sudanese army said Ali Yagoub Gibril, a commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) who was under US sanctions, was among hundreds killed and injured in confrontations between the rebels and the army.

The announcement closely followed a United Nations Security Council resolution passed on Thursday. It called on Sudan's RSF to halt the siege of El Fasher, a city of 1.8 million people, and immediately end violence there.

What did the Sudanese army say?

The army said in its statement that the RSF "renewed its attack" on El Fasher early on Friday, but it said that the forces of army General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and joint forces, a reference to non-Arab former rebel groups in Darfur,  were able to repel the RSF attack.

"Our forces also destroyed and captured dozens of combat vehicles from the rebels who fled from the battlefield," the army statement read.

There was no immediate reaction from the RSF.

DW News Africa with Tomi Oladipo, 13 June 2024

Sudan's ongoing conflict

Sudan plunged deeper into crisis in April last year after fighting erupted between the Sudanese army, headed by Burhan, and the RSF, led by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.

The conflict has so far claimed thousands of lives and displaced millions.

The UN has said nearly 25 million people, half of Sudan's population, need aid and some 8 million have fled their homes.

In El Fasher, charity group Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said on Friday that the fighting had killed at least 226 people and wounded 1,418 more.

"The situation in El-Fasher is chaotic," said Michel-Olivier Lacharite, head of MSF's emergency program.

The US says the warring parties have committed war crimes and the RSF and allied militias have also committed crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.

Rival Sudan forces blacklisted for killing children

rmt/msh (AFP, Reuters)