Armed Attack on US Diplomatic Convoy in Sudan – Peace Appeal or Prelude to War?

by Sophia Chen
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The U.S. Government’s most important representative said on Tuesday that somebody shot at the American Embassy vehicle in Sudan. That same day, Sudanese soldiers and a strong opposition group both used big weapons in cities for the fourth day in a row. The governement official was strongly against these dangerous activities happening in cities.

A group of vehicles, labeled as embassy cars, was attacked on Monday. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the attackers could be linked to Rapid Support Forces – a military group fighting against Sudan’s military. Fortunately, everyone inside the convoy is safe. The attack happened at Sudan’s dangerous Darfur region.

Two army generals recently fought a battle in Africa’s third-biggest country, Sudan. This caused more problems, including attacks on a convoy of vehicles and the houses of an EU representative and aid workers.

At least 185 people have died and around 1,800 injured according to a report from the United Nations. The Sudan Doctors’ Syndicate calculated that out of these casualties, 144 people were civilians and more than 1400 sustained injuries. But this figure could be even bigger because one area in Khartoum cannot move the bodies due to some fighting.

The two sides have been using heavy weapons like tanks and artillery in cities. On Monday night, fighter planes flew over the area while there was a lot of anti-aircraft fire in the sky. Early Tuesday morning, fighting continued around each side’s main bases and at important places owned by the government which are all in populated neighborhoods.

Pictures taken of Khartoum on Monday by a company called Maxar Technologies showed that there was destruction around the city with tanks at places like a bridge over the White Nile River.

Monday, satellite images from Planet Labs PBC showed that around 20 airplanes at Khartoum International Airport got damaged. Most of them were ruined and one was still releasing smoke. In El Obeid and Merowe air bases located north and south of Khartoum respectively, several fighter jets were also seen damaged.

Government officials have asked two generals—Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan and Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo—to stop the fighting, but it has not worked yet. The Sudanese military said they will add more troops to the fight and increase the size of their mission against Gen. Dagalo’s armed forces (the RSF). Mr Blinken from the international State Department spoke with both generals separately on phone in order to try to solve this situation.

“I told people very clearly in my phone calls that beating up our diplomats or putting them in any kind of danger is not okay,” said Blinken while he was attending a meeting with the world’s richest countries’ leaders at Japan on Tuesday.

He asked for a stop to all fighting for 24 hours so that the two sides could talk and try to find solutions. He said that too many people, including civilians, American people, and aid workers have been killed by careless battles.

Burhan and Dagalo used to be friends but now they are not. They have started a fight with each other and it looks like the situation might escalate into a civil war. This is happening when Sudanese are trying to move forward towards having a government that is civilian-led instead of being controlled by the military.

The Sudanese military said that a group called the RSF, which used to be known for causing trouble in Darfur’s region, is responsible for attacking an American convoy and earlier attacking the house of the EU Ambassador to Khartoum. The attack on the U.S. convoy happened in al-Fasher, which is a city in North Darfur province. On Monday, Josep Borrell from the European Union tweeted about how someone broke into the home of their ambassador to Sudan but he didn’t give any more information about it.

The RSF (a group) said they weren’t involved in the attack on the ambassador’s home. They thought it was done by the military instead. But someone who works where the house is (a Western diplomat) said that people wearing RSF clothes had broken into thehome and taken away some stuff. Nobody got hurt, but the person speaking to media didn’t give their name because they’re not allowed to do that.

Recently, Burhan and Dagalo agreed to a deal with political parties and people who want more democracy, but the signing was delayed because of disagreements about combining the RSF (a group of armed forces) into the military and how command would work.

Unfortunately, these two generals have done bad things before and their troops have stopped pro-democracy activists from doing what they wanted.

Four years ago, a popular movement in Sudan tried to overthrow their leader Omar al-Bashir, which was providing some hope for the country. However, recent fighting and a 2021 coup have ruined Sudan’s economy and left 16 million people searching for help just to survive.

From Cairo, Magdy reported what happened. His report was made even better with the help of two other writers named Jon Gambrell from Dubai and Matthew Lee from Japan.

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