Sudan’s year-old war: The build-up and the turmoil

Sudan is now a year into a war between rival military factions that has killed thousands, forced millions to flee and created a humanitarian catastrophe.

Below is the timeline of the events that led up to the conflict and the turmoil that followed:

The build-up

19 December, 2018 – Hundreds protest in the northern city of Atbara against soaring bread prices. Demonstrations spurred by a broader economic crisis soon spread to Khartoum and other cities. Security services respond with tear gas and gunfire.

6 April, 2019 – Hundreds of thousands begin a sit-in outside army headquarters in Khartoum. Five days later, the army overthrows and detains autocratic leader Omar Al-Bashir, ending his three-decade rule.

17 August, 2019 – After a deadly raid on the sit-in at army headquarters in June causes outrage, the military and civilian groups sign a deal to share power during a transitional period leading to elections. Abdalla Hamdok, an economist and former United Nations (UN) official, is later appointed to head the government.

25 October, 2021 – Security forces detain Hamdok and other top civilians in pre-dawn raids following recriminations between civilian and military factions and a failed coup attempt. Army chief General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan says the civilian government has been dissolved.

21 November, 2021 – After several rallies against the coup and the suspension of most international financial support for Sudan, military leaders and Hamdok announce a deal for his reinstatement as prime minister. He resigns less than two months later.

5 December, 2022 – Civilian groups sign an initial deal with the military to start a new, two-year political transition and appoint a civilian government.

5 April, 2023 – The signing of a final deal is delayed for a second time amid disputes over whether the army would be placed under civilian oversight and over plans for integrating the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) into the army.

The turmoil

13 April, 2023 – Sudan’s army says mobilisation by the RSF risks confrontation. Two days later, battles break out between the two forces in Khartoum and other cities.

21 April, 2023 – The number of residents fleeing Khartoum accelerates as army airstrikes, clashes and looting hit the capital. Diplomats and expatriates rush to airstrips, borders and other evacuation points in the days and weeks that follow.

20 May 2023—At talks in Jeddah, the warring factions agree to a seven-day ceasefire, but fighting barely pauses. The US-Saudi-brokered negotiations are the first of several failed international attempts to settle the conflict.

July, 2023 – Violence spreads in the strife-torn western region of Darfur, where the RSF makes further advances in the following months. The RSF and allied Arab militias carry out ethnically targeted killings in West Darfur, as detailed in a series of Reuters investigations through the rest of the year.

14 December, 2023 – Families in conflict zones could experience famine-like conditions in 2024, the UN warns. Some 30 million, almost two-thirds of the population, need help, double the number before the war. Humanitarian alerts mount in the following months.

19 December, 2023 – The army withdraws as the RSF advances to take Wad Madani, the capital of Al-Gezira state. The RSF largely controls neighbouring Khartoum, almost all of Darfur and much of Kordofan, while the army holds the north and east, including Sudan’s main Red Sea port. Both sides have committed abuses, the UN and the US say.

12 March, 2024 – The army says it has taken control of the state broadcaster’s headquarters in Omdurman, across the Nile from Khartoum, part of its biggest advance against the RSF in months. Sources say Iranian-made drones are helping the army turn the tide.

9 April, 2024 – Fighting spreads to the up-to-now calm farming state of Al-Gadaref, where almost half a million people have taken refuge.

(Source: Reuters)