What to know about Sudan’s raging crisis — and how it affects Nigeria

 What to know about Sudan’s raging crisis — and how it affects Nigeria

The ongoing crisis in Sudan is a power tussle between rival forces in the country. The war, which started on April 15, 2023 at Khartoum, the capital, has taken a toll on the country’s socio-political landscape.

So far, 420 — including 264 civilians — have reportedly been killed while more than 3,700 people have been wounded in the ensuing melee.

Sudan’s crisis did not start today.

It started as far back as June 30, 1989 when Umar Al Bashir was sworn into power as the Brigadier General of the Sudan army — which is equivalent to the office of the President.

Political observers linked the current raging crisis to the continuous conflicts in the country and military interferences in civilian affairs.


Upon his appointment into office, Umar overthrew the then-prime minister Sadiq Al Mahadi. He thereafter abolished the office of the prime minister and become the absolute leader of Sudan in the process. This marked the beginning of his nearly 30-year rule in the country.

In 2019, Umar appointed Abdel Fattah Al Bruhan as the Inspector General of Sudan Army and Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, popularly known as “Hemeti”, as deputy general.

Two months after their appointment, Al Bruhan and Dagalo joined forces and plotted a successful coup d’etat to overthrow Umar, making Al Bruhan the De-facto President and Dagalo, his vice president.

Al Bruhan and Dagalo have collaborated before. In 2015, Al Bruhan commanded Sudanese troops in Yemen as part of Saudi-led coalition forces who fought against the Iran-based Hudi rebels. It was during this incident that Al Bruhan worked closely with Dagalo.

Dagalo is also the commander of over 100,000 troops called Rapid Support Forces (RSF). RSF is an independent and powerful team with a vast business empire, investments,  goldmine, car rental, iron and steel.

Following Al Bruhan inception into office, he established relationship ties with global powers like US, UN, UK and Israel. Since most of these powers practice democracy, Al Bruhan then considered it wise to do the same. Hence, in 2019, Al Bruhan establish a transition government called Transitional Sovereignty Council (TSC) to serve as the Federal Government.

TSC comprises both civil political groups and military groups with Al Bruhan as the Chairman and Dagalo as the Vice Chairman. The agreement reached concerning TSC was that it would last for 39 months — that is, three years and three months. It was also agreed that within these months, the military would rule for the first 21 months and then the civilian for the proceeding 18 months.

As opposed to the agreement, in October 2021, a month before the military was scheduled to hand over rulership to the civilians, Al Bruhan and Dagalo successfully plotted another coup known as the 2021 Sudan Coup D’etat.

This led to the detaining of several civilian government officers, members of political parties, Lawyers, civil society activists and Journalists. While some were placed on house arrest.


Along the line, Al Bruhan reinstated individuals associated with former President, Al Bashir,  to their former positions as civilian leaders and this fueled Dagalo’s fears and suspicions concerning Al Bruhan’s agenda.

Dagalo’s suspicion was due to several reasons. In the first place, he is from a minority tribe in Sudan called Darfur. He also feared that Al Bruhan was plotting against him.

In no time, Al Bruhan in collaboration with his civilian leaders requested that RSF, which is a paramilitary body, be placed under the military rulers. By implication, they lose their independence, have a higher commander than Dagalo and are answerable to the military. As expected, Dagalo refused to bow to the instructions.

Dagalo’s refusal led to Al Bruhan’s order to disband and dissolve RSF, declaring them as a rebel group. By virtue of these actions, Dagalo drew his sword and was ready to fight to protect the interests of RSF.

While some report has it that no one knows exactly who started the fight, others believe that on April 15, 2023, RSF fired some shots into densely populated areas in Khartoum, which led to many casualties.

Since then, the country has been enmeshed in a heated crisis leading to air attacks and shellings, airport damage, lack of water or electricity, low supply of food, destruction of presidential palace, and state TV channel.

In defense of his actions, Dagalo assured Sudanese that he was on the side of civilians and RSF, adding that together, they will fight against Khartoum political elites who hold the major ladder of the society.

Despite his assurance, Dagalo only has strong support from Darfur and South Cordova residents. Others questioned the sincerity of his movement given the fact that his men’s attacks affect the civilians he claims to represent.

On another hand, Al Bruhan has also assured Sudanese that if they stand by him, he will restore things as they were in 2021 — that is to recognise civilian rule. Like Dagalo, Al Bruhans has supporters and those who do not believe in his course.

The crisis has attracted the attention of global powers such as the United Nations, United States, European Union, African Union and United Kingdom. These external actors have called for a ceasefire to resolve the crisis. Countries like Egypt, Russia and Israel are also involved in the crisis.


Nigerians are among those affected by the crisis. The chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, revealed there are over three million Nigerians residing in Sudan.

The NIDCOM boss also announced efforts are being made to evacuate the stranded Nigerians in the country if the war persists.

Speaking at a recent ministerial briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team, she added that priority will be given to children, students, and women.

Dabiri-Erewa said already, 13 buses have departed Sudan for Aswan border in Egypt, from where the returnees would be airlifted back to Nigeria.

“We have some buses that have departed from the African International University in Khartoum, Sudan and as I speak, I think they are just about two hours away from Aswan in Cairo,” she had said.

“Others departed from the Elrazi University also in Khartoum. All in all, 13 buses have departed for the Aswan border in Egypt where they will be received by the Nigerian Ambassador and the Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Habib Ahmed, who is already there with some officials”.

She further said the returnees would be given stipends to help them through this phase.

“NEMA will decide what would be given to the returnees because the funding is with the Ministry of Humanitarian affairs and Disaster Management. Usually it is just a small amount. The last time we evacuated people, we gave them $100. So, it depends on the budget they have,” she added.

“But we in NIDCOM give them recharge cards, SIM cards and sometimes phones. Usually they get $100 just to hold and these are students coming back to their families. They are not refugees, they have homes.”


Concerns have continued to grow over the safety of foreigners stranded in Sudan and the future of the 44 million people in the poor country.

Before the recent crisis, the Sudanese economy has been in ruins. It was primarily reliant on funding from the international community and was put on hold after a military coup in 2021 that prevented an internationally supported transition to democracy.

The nation is going through its worst economic crisis and is getting closer to the international isolation it endured throughout the majority of Omar Al Bashir’s 29-year administration, which was toppled in 2019.

Any end in sight to the crisis?

By Clare Ijeoma

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