How Sudan fell apart: one year of war

Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan (centre). He is at war with RSF rebels. [AFP]

Sudan has been brought to its knees by a war between the regular army and rival paramilitaries that has killed thousands of people and displaced 8.5 million more.

Here are the main developments in the fighting, which has brought the country of 48 million to the brink of famine.

April 2023: Fighting erupts

Explosions rock the capital Khartoum on April 15, 2023, as war breaks out between the regular army of Sudan's de facto leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.

Tensions between the pair -- who were behind the 2021 coup that ousted the transitional government that came to power after the 2019 overthrow of strongman leader Omar al-Bashir -- had been building for months.

The fighting comes after a deal on a return to civilian rule fell apart amid wrangling over how to integrate the RSF into the regular army.

The RSF quickly takes control of Khartoum airport, the presidential palace and other key sites.

Fighting also erupts in the western region of Darfur, which is still reeling from a major conflict that began in 2003 when Arab militias known as Janjaweed (which later became the RSF) were deployed by Khartoum to crush a rebellion by non-Arab minorities.

Foreign countries rush to evacuate their nationals from Sudan.

The United States and Saudi Arabia negotiate a 72-hour truce but it is quickly violated, like a series of further truce deals that follow.

May: talks fall apart

In May, the army and the RSF take part in ceasefire talks brokered by the United States and Saudi Arabia in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah.

But the army walks out on May 31, accusing the RSF of failing to respect its truce commitments.

Its forces bombard the paramilitaries' positions in Khartoum.

June: US sanctions

The United States on June 1 announces sanctions against businesses linked to both the army and paramilitaries, and restrictions on visas for officials from both warring parties.

The paramilitaries say they have seized the country's most important military complex, in Khartoum.

In mid-June, the war claims one of its most prominent victims -- the governor of West Darfur state, Khamis Abdullah Abakar, who is captured and assassinated after criticising the RSF in an interview with a Saudi TV channel.

July: war crimes probe

The International Criminal Court opens a probe into alleged war crimes in Sudan, including alleged sexual and gender-based crimes.

In mid-August the war spreads to two new cities: El Fasher in North Darfur and El Fula in West Kordofan.

The UN says famine stalks the whole of Sudan.

September: unrest in Port Sudan

In September, the army clashes with tribal militiamen in the strategic Red Sea city of Port Sudan, where the government, which is loyal to the army, has taken refuge.

Peace talks sponsored by the United States and Saudi Arabia resume on October 26 in Jeddah, but there is no agreement on a ceasefire.

December: gains for paramilitaries

The paramilitaries overrun central Al-Jazira state, until then a relative safe haven.

Sudan expels diplomats from the United Arab Emirates over accusations the wealthy Gulf country is providing military aid to the RSF.

January: Sudan quits regional bloc

Sudan in January quits the east African bloc IGAD after it invited Burhan's rival, paramilitary chief Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, to a gathering.

The number of people uprooted by the war reaches nearly eight million, with more than 1.5 million fleeing to Chad and other neighbouring countries, according to UN figures.

February: agreement to hold talks

The warring parties agree to meet for talks on enabling the delivery of desperately needed aid.

The United States says it hopes the talks will take place after the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which ended earlier this week.

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