Fires on the frontline
Lower-intensity fighting continues in Khartoum, recruitment picks up
Fighting has continued in Al Obeid and in Khartoum over the past few days, including around the General Command. Although there aren’t any major military developments to report, the fighting in Khartoum appears to be positional ahead of a possible resumption of major hostilities.
Even the lower-intensity fighting can still be quite brutal. In one recent video, for example, SAF soldiers dragged the bodies of two RSF fighters into the street and left them there, presumably as a warning to the RSF, or as an insult. At least two other recent videos show combatants firing entire magazines of bullets into the bodies of already deceased fighters.
The breakdown of civilian infrastructure continues, with some areas suffering outages of basic services including water, electricity, and telecommunications.
A scene of urban combat
Atbara Artillery shows off new recruits
The Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) is so far having some success with its ongoing mobilization campaign, which should result in reinforcements to join the battle for Khartoum, according to reports from both government media and third parties.
For example, the below video was recorded in Ad-Damar south of Atbara. It shows either that new battalions are forming as a result of the mobilization campaign, or that depleted battalions that haven’t yet joined the fight are being reinforced and prepared for battle. The troops in the video belong to the Atbara Artillery division.
Multiple videos from the site show the troops initially heading north from Ad-Damar toward Atbara, then turning around and going back south again. If SAF is going to deploy these forces to the Khartoum area, it could send them south toward Bahri, in which case they would have to fight their way past RSF troops in Al-Gaili refinery area and Kadroo. A more likely route would be across the bridge in Atbara and then south toward Omdurman, where they could join the offensive toward Shambat.
Kadroo forces on patrol
RSF continue to dominate most parts of Khartoum Bahri, but SAF are holding out at two bases, one in Kobar area and the other in Kadroo.
This video shows a patrol by SAF troops through a neighborhood near the Kadroo base (location: 15.7283791, 32.5793790). Notice the man with the bucket who is handing out sweets or bread, and the soldiers conspicuously eating bread as they march. Both sides rely on various strategies to try to influence civilian populations in areas under their control, as well as contested areas.
The Kadroo base was reinforced prior to the SAF offensive in early/mid June, and there have been occasional clashes around it recently.
Fires on the frontline
Yesterday thick smoke plumes were observed rising from the jet fuel depots at Khartoum International Airport, near Hay Al Matar. The animated image at the top of this post shows the fire. The same smoke can be seen in a video released yesterday by an RSF spokesperson at time 02:33. There were also fires last week in the Omdurman Industrial area, which is also a combat zone.
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West Darfur arrivals
A fresh wave of refugees have arrived in West Darfur over the past few days and they brought harrowing reports of more war crimes by the militias. Unfortunately, we haven’t translated the article yet as we lack translation capacity at this stage to cross-publish in both languages everything that we post.
Jérôme Tubiana, a journalist, researcher, and former senior analyst for the International Crisis Group, discussed the violence in Darfur in a recent podcast with ICG’s Horn of Africa Project Director Alan Boswell.
Tubiana has researched Chad and Darfur for two decades. He said it isn't likely that Chad will get immediately pulled into Sudan's civil war. However, he added:
I believe there are some people including some Chadian Arab rebels who are trying to provoke a conflict between Arabs and Zaghawa whether in Darfur or Chad or possibly in both. But... there are also other Chadian Arab leaders who are a bit more responsible and they are trying to avoid having that type of conflict spread into Chad.
But as a matter of fact it’s already spreading into Chad, and there is a risk it could spread more, just because there are Chadian Arab fighters who have been joining the Arab militias in Darfur, and the RSF, since two decades, and still now."
And equally for them as for any recruits the motivations are diverse: they’re not only about ethnic solidarity, they’re also about thinking of obtaining something which could be either money or some kind of support for a Chadian agenda.
It’s not clear what will happen but what is true is that there is long-term damage for Chad, which has already been visible in Chad in the sense that in the past there were communal conflicts in Chad, usually described as conflicts between pastoralists and farmers. But they were not necessarily very ethnic. And in particular they didn’t have an Arab versus non-Arab dimension. But in recent years you could see that dimension, that pattern, getting imported into Chad."
And I remember discussing it within Chad a few years ago with some Chadian Arab traditional leaders and what they were telling me was a little bit disturbing—was very disturbing, actually. They were basically saying ‘Our youth, who are getting recruited into the RSF just for money, because they have absolutely nothing to do in Chad, nothing to get an income, when they come back to Chad after 1 or 2 years in the RSF, they come back with a different mindset.’
And that kind of mindset is actually much more racist than the usual Chadian mindset of community relations. So that is somehow slowly spreading and it is pretty dangerous.
Most of the podcast is actually about Darfur, not Chad, and it is worth a listen.
Sudan War Monitor began in an ad hoc way. We moved aggressively to bring together a team and establish this website as a “minimum viable product.”
Nevertheless, there are constraints in continuing to operate the project as a volunteer initiative and without clearer processes and structures.
Therefore, following internal discussions, we agreed upon our goals and the scope of the Sudan War Monitor project.
We also held discussions about sustainability arrangements for the project, prospective partners, internal processes, and audience outreach.
We continued analyzing and locating conflict-related videos in Khartoum in connection with a prospective mapping project.
Thank you to all the supporters, and volunteers, and readers who have offered advice or assistance or indicated an interest in working with us. 🙏