Heavy fighting could mean prolonged strife across a country already dealing with economic breakdown and flare-ups of tribal violence.
The international community has condemned the escalation of violence in Sudan’s capital Khartoum.
Heavy gunfire and blasts were reported following days of tension between the armed forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
Fighting was under way for Khartoum’s airport, military bases, the presidential palace, and the residence of the army chief.
Countries were quick to denounce the violence and call for calm.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the situation in Sudan was “fragile” but insisted there was still an opportunity to complete a transition to a civilian-led government.
Blinken alleged some actors “may be pushing against that progress”.
US Ambassador to Sudan John Godfrey said on Twitter he was “currently sheltering in place with the Embassy team, as Sudanese throughout Khartoum and elsewhere are doing”.
“Escalation of tensions within the military component to direct fighting is extremely dangerous,” Godfrey wrote. “I urgently call on senior military leaders to stop the fighting.”
Escalation of tensions within the military component to direct fighting is extremely dangerous. I urgently call on senior military leaders to stop the fighting. (2/2)
— John Godfrey (@USAMBSudan) April 15, 2023
Britain’s embassy in Sudan urged its nationals there to remain indoors.
“We are closely monitoring the situation in Khartoum and other parts of Sudan where there are ongoing military clashes,” the embassy said on Twitter. “We advise all British Nationals in Sudan to remain indoors and follow our travel advice for more updates.”
We are closely monitoring the situation in Khartoum and other parts of Sudan where there are ongoing military clashes.
We advise all British Nationals in Sudan to remain indoors and follow our travel advice for more updates: https://t.co/t5u82VNcuO
— UK in Sudan 🇬🇧 (@UKinSudan) April 15, 2023
Russia’s embassy in Sudan said it was concerned by an “escalation of violence” in the country and called for a ceasefire and negotiations, the state-owned Russian news agency RIA reported.
The embassy said the atmosphere in Khartoum was tense but Russian diplomats were safe.
Egypt expressed grave concern over the ongoing clashes in Sudan and called on all parties to exercise restraint, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The Saudi government said it was “deeply concerned” over the escalation and heavy fighting in Sudan. It called on the warring factions to “choose dialogue over conflict”.
The UN’s special envoy for Sudan Volker Perthes “strongly condemned” the eruption of fighting in the country and urged an “immediate” halt to the violence.
Perthes “has reached out to both parties asking them for an immediate cessation of fighting to ensure the safety of the Sudanese people”, a statement said.
European Union foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell called on all forces involved to stop the violence in Sudan immediately, and said in a tweet all EU staff in the country were safe and accounted for.