Sudan conflict could surpass Syria, Libya crises, says Ex-PM Hamdok


Abdalla Hamdok, former Prime Minister of Sudan, has expressed grave concerns that the ongoing conflict in Sudan could escalate beyond the crises witnessed in Syria and Libya. Hamdok warns that continued fighting would be catastrophic for the world. This warning comes amidst reports of airstrikes in Khartoum, the country’s capital, and tens of thousands of people fleeing the country.

The conflict in Sudan has resulted in hundreds of deaths in the past two weeks. Despite a recent extension of the ceasefire between the warring factions, the fighting has not stopped, with reports of air, tank, and artillery strikes in parts of Khartoum. Neighboring countries, including the US, UK, and UN, have made diplomatic efforts to broker peace, but the attempts have not been successful.

At a conference in Nairobi, Kenya, Hamdok called for a unified international effort to persuade the Sudanese military leader and the head of a rival paramilitary force to engage in peace talks. The situation in Sudan is complicated because it is not just a war between an army and a small rebellion; it is almost like two armies – both well-trained and well-armed. Hamdok, who served as prime minister twice between 2019 and 2022, believes that the insecurity in Sudan could become worse than the civil wars in Syria and Libya, which have caused instability and resulted in millions of refugees.

The conflict in Sudan broke out on April 15th, as a result of a power struggle between the regular army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Army commander Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and RSF chief Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemedti, disagree about the country’s proposed move to civilian rule, and in particular about the timeframe of the 100,000 strong RSF’s inclusion into the army. Both factions fear losing power in Sudan, partly because there are men on both sides who could end up at the International Criminal Court for war crimes committed in the Darfur region almost 20 years ago.

The conflict has resulted in shortages of food, water, and fuel in Khartoum, leaving millions of people trapped in the city. Violence has also been reported to be particularly bad in El Geneina, a city in Darfur, where militia groups have looted and torched markets. Hemedti has told the BBC that he would not negotiate until fighting ends. He blames army chief Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan for the violence, claiming that his fighters have been relentlessly bombed since the truce was extended.

Gen Burhan, the head of Sudan’s regular army, has agreed to face-to-face talks in South Sudan, but there has been no resolution yet. Hamdok’s call for a unified international effort to persuade the warring factions to hold peace talks is timely and necessary. It is imperative that the international community comes together to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Sudan before it escalates further and becomes a catastrophe for the world.