Wad Madani has fallen and that marks a big shift in Sudan’s war

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By Dr. Abdelmonim Ali

A big victory seems to be in store for the RSF fighters, having chased away the government army (SAF) in an area which was firmly in control of the SAF. Again ethnic cleansing is part of the fight, however this time not the RSF but the SAF seems to be responsible.

Al-Jazira State, a South Eastern region of Khartoum where Wad Madani is the regional capital, holds significant importance. It serves as the largest refuge for those seeking shelter and has already a huge influx of displaced families crowding in schools and university premises.  

In spite of the cautions issued by the United States, the European Union, and Humanitarian Aid Organizations to the RSF, the group persists in launching assaults simultaneously on the cities of Wad Madani in the east and El Fashar in the west.

According to the RSF the city is served as a mobilization and training center for the SAF, as well as a source of military supplies for Khartoum. Abdulfatah Alburhand, the leader of SAF, said this during his recent visit to the 1st Infantry Division of SAF in Wad Madani. 40,000 young volunteers were being trained to be enlisted in the battle against the RSF in Khartoum.

Prior to the clashes and exchange of artillery fire between the SAF and RSF in Hantoub and the eastern neighborhoods of the city, the residents were filled with terror. Displaced families and frightened residents are now seeking refuge to Sennar and Gedaref states. The escalating violence around the city has compelled the authorities to evacuate non-resident personnel from the cardiology outpatient clinic and temporarily halt its operations.

Unverified videos circulating on social media reveal the disturbing occurrence of ethnically motivated killings, torture and targeting and detention of civilians from Darfur within the city.

On Sunday Novermber 17th, after receiving news of the RSF’s withdrawal from the fight, Wad Madani erupted in jubilant celebrations. The streets were filled with people, their voices resonating with joyous chants, the blaring of car horns, and the celebratory gunfire from SAF army personnel. They proudly proclaimed, “The army has triumphed!”

However, it seems that these celebrations were premature. One day later, the RSF has announced that they have taken control of the SAF’s 1st Infantry Division in Wad Madani. If the claimed victory of RSF is indeed true, one cannot help but question what remains for the SAF to do, since the majority of their military bases were seized by militiamen and that gives the RSF control over the a major part of the country, including in the east which was firmly in the hands of SAF.

The RSF already controlled major cities of Darfur and some in Kordofan, and emboldened by these victories the RSF did launch attacks on Wad Madani. The RSF now holds the upper hand in Khartoum, while the SAF are confined to a few remaining barracks in the capital. Since the war started in April, the SAF has never been in such a bad military situation.

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