War Escalates in Sudan; Migration Crisis on the Rise

Ugandan troops being trained by US Army instructors in 2008.

Level, Brandon B

US Dept of Defense

Brandon Level

After the devastating toppling of the Sudanese civilian government in 2021 by both the paramilitary rapid support forces (RSF) and the Sudanese army, tensions began to rise in the region.

There are two generals at the head of the conflict: Army General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and RSF leader General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, commonly known as Hemedti.

There are international interests in the region as well. Russia has had plans to build a naval base off the coast of Sudan in the Red Sea, where over 10% of international trade crosses annually. In 2019, Russia and Sudan signed a historic agreement granting Russia access to Sudanese ports, which was heavily warned against by the U.S. This highlights alternative reasons for the fighting we see today. Other countries in the region including the UAE and Saudi Arabia see an opportunity to stabilize the region by investing in Sudan’s ports and agricultural sector. Egypt, unlike other nations involved in the conflict, is working to promote a government similar to the prior Islamist government run by Omar al-Bashir.

A refugee crisis is cooking and could boil over in the coming months. According to the U.N. Refugee Agency, more than 800,000 Sudanese people could be displaced and flee from the country if fighting continues. This is on top of the already large 300,000+ people that have been displaced within the country since fighting began on April 15th. Chad, a large neighbor to Sudan in the west, is already home to around 400,000 Sudanese people after decades of fighting in the region, and with thousands more flooding the borders, it is expected that number will rise exponentially due to the current crisis, in sync with Sudan’s other 6 neighboring countries.

On April 30th, the Sudanese army said in a statement that it agreed to extend a truce with the paramilitary RSF for 72 hours, starting from the end of the current ceasefire arrangement.

The army said that although the rebels had intended to attack some sites, it hoped they would abide by the ceasefire.

The United States, along with their international allies have helped to evacuate over 1,000 U.S. citizens. In multiple convoys, the U.S. has evacuated citizens to Saudi Arabia, where the State Department takes over to facilitate emergency travel back to the U.S. and other nations.

Missions like these have been, and continue to be carried out by nations across the globe to safely rescue their citizens.

The conflict in Sudan will have far-reaching impacts on the continent of Africa, the Middle East, and the world. Hundreds of thousands will continue to be displaced, and many will die at the hands of the two battling generals as peace efforts await. It is likely multiple prominent countries such as China, Russia, and the U.S., and large regional players like Saudi Arabia and the UAE will play a role in peace talks for the nation.