Sudan paramilitaries say in control of presidential palace, other centers

Sudan’s paramilitaries say they are in control of several key sites, including the presidential palace in central Khartoum, following fighting with the regular army.

Fierce exchanges of gunfire as well as massive explosions hit the capital on Saturday as columns of smoke bellowed from various places and soldiers were deployed on the streets.

The clashes came following days of tension between the army and the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

In a statement, the group said it was surprised Saturday with a large force from the army entering its camps in Khartoum and laying siege to its paramilitaries.

The army force “launched a sweeping attack with all kinds of heavy and light weapons”, it said.

However, a spokesman for Sudan’s army said paramilitary troops attacked military bases.

“Fighters from the Rapid Support Forces attacked several army camps in Khartoum and elsewhere around Sudan,” Brigadier-General Nabil Abdallah said.

The RSF later said its fighters had wrested control of the presidential palace, the residence of army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Khartoum International Airport.

Russia’s embassy in Sudan said on Saturday it was concerned by the “escalation of violence” in the Northeast African country and called for a ceasefire and negotiations.

The embassy said the atmosphere in the capital Khartoum was tense but Russian diplomats were safe, the state-owned Russian news agency RIA reported.

Sudanese civilian parties, which had signed an initial power-sharing deal with the country’s army and powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, have called on both parties to cease hostilities.

The parties also urged international and regional players to urgently help stop the bloodshed.

Meanwhile, the Sudanese army said in a statement on Saturday that the air force is conducting operations to confront RSF fighters.

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