Turkish evacuation plane fired on while landing in Sudan
Khartoum, Apr 28 (EFE).- A Turkish military evacuation plane was shot while landing in an airport on the outskirts of Khartoum on Friday, as fighting between Sudan’s warring military factions rumbled on despite an extension to a 3-day ceasefire.
“Light weapons were fired on our C-130 evacuation plane, which was going to Wadi Sayidna for the mission of evacuating our citizens who were stuck in Sudan, where the clashes continued,” Turkey’s defense ministry tweeted on Friday.
“Our plane landed safely. Although there are no injuries in our personnel, necessary controls are also carried out on our aircraft,” the statement added.
The Army has accused the Rapid Support Forces of firing at the Turkish jet, but the paramilitary group has denied the attack and accused its rival and the media of “spreading lies.”
“Our forces have remained strictly committed to the humanitarian truce that we agreed upon since midnight,” the RSF said.
Sudan’s warring factions have both accused each other of violating an extension to a US-brokered 3-day ceasefire which was agreed on late on Thursday after intense mediation efforts by the United Nations, African Union, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the so-called Quad countries – the United States, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
There have been reports that fighting between the Sudanese army and the RSF has continued in Khartoum despite the truce.
“The coup leaders of the armed forces and the remnants of the defunct regime violated the truce since the early morning by attacking the positions of our forces with aircraft and cannons,” the RSF statement said.
The powerful paramilitary group added that army jets had continued to fly over the capital and adjacent cities which was hindering “diplomatic missions working to evacuate their nationals.”
The Sudanese Army has also accused the RSF of launching attacks on Friday morning against its units in Jabal Awliya, 40 kilometers south of Khartoum, saying that they were “successfully” repelled.
As Sudan entered its fourteenth consecutive day of fighting the army and the RSF agreed on a prolongation of the truce to facilitate the evacuation of foreigners and to open humanitarian corridors so civilians can move to safe zones.
But so far, previous ceasefires have largely failed and multiple attempts at mediation have stalled.
Fighting first broke out on Apr. 15 when the RSF – a collective of militia – accused the Sudanese army of launching an attack against one of its bases in Khartoum, while the Armed Forces said that they did so in response to an attack that the RSF had previously carried out in the Sudanese capital.
The Sudanese health ministry has reported over 512 civilian deaths and over 4,000 injured, although the death toll could be much higher.
The RSF, which developed from the Janjaweed militias accused of committing crimes against humanity during the 2003-2008 Darfur conflict, has emerged as a rival to the army since the toppling of former dictator Omar al-Bashir in 2019.
Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, leads the RSF and is vice president of the transitional Sovereignty Council that took charge following the ouster of Bashir.
The army commander, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, seized control of the Sovereignty Council in October 2021 and has yet to establish a timetable for a return to civilian rule.
The outbreak of violence has occurred amid negotiations to reach a definitive political agreement that would return the country to civilian rule and lead Sudan to a democratic transition, a pact whose signing has been postponed twice this month because of the tensions and rivalries between the army and the RSF. EFE