Sudanese army confirms pullout from Wad Madani

 This picture released on the Sudanese Army's Facebook page on May 30, 2023, shows army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan cheering with soldiers as he visits some of their positions in Khartoum.

The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) on Tuesday confirmed that its forces have withdrawn from Wad Madani, the country's second-largest city, after it was reportedly captured by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

"An investigation is underway into the reasons and circumstances that led to the withdrawal," the office of the SAF's spokesman said in a statement, adding that the results will be submitted to authorities once the investigation is completed.

On Monday, the RSF said it had seized the headquarters of the 1st Infantry Division of the Sudanese army and controlled Wad Madani, the capital city of the central Gezira state, some 170 km southeast of the capital Khartoum.

RSF commander Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo posted Tuesday on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, that civilians in Wad Madani and the entire Gezira state will remain in security and peace.

At least 250,000-300,000 people have fled the Gezira state since the clashes erupted four days ago, the International Organization for Migration said in a statement on Monday.

On Friday, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) announced it has suspended all humanitarian field missions within and from Gezira state since Dec. 15.

Wad Madani has served as a hub for humanitarian operations since clashes between the SAF and the RSF broke out on April 15, the OCHA said.

So far, more than 12,000 people have been killed in the clashes, while 6.6 million others have been displaced inside and outside Sudan, according to the OCHA.