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Al-Burhan says he was surprised by RSF attak on his house

President of the Sovereign Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, said he was surprised by the attack of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on his house in Khartoum.

Fighting flared up in the Sudanese capital between the national army and the paramilitary forces on Saturday morning as the two sides traded accusations over who started hostilities.

In statements to Al-Jazeera TV, al-Burhan and his rival leader of the Rapid Support Forces Mohamed Hamdan Daglo ‘Hemetti’ sought to clear themselves of the political responsibility for the fighting that erupted in the country.

In the afternoon, al-Burhan spoke from an unknown location in Khartoum to the Doha-based TV station. He appeared with Shams al-Din Kabbashi in a command room supervising military operations.

According to the commander-in-chief of the army, the Rapid Support Forces were the ones who started shooting and they attacked the army in the Sports City area, south of Khartoum.

“I was surprised when the Rapid Support Forces attacked my house at 9:00 am,” adding that “all the strategic facilities of the Army General Command and the Republican Palace are under the control of government forces.”

It is worth mentioning that al-Burhan’s residence is located inside the headquarters of the General Command of the Army.

Clashes between the army and the paramilitary forces continue as the two sides release statements about the positions they captured or recaptured, but it remains very difficult to verify their accuracy due to the continued fighting in Khartoum.

Also, the official radio and TV stations have stopped broadcasting since this morning as their offices have been guarded by the RSF forces since the collapse of the former regime in April 2019.

For his part, the RSF commander told Al-Jazeera TV that al-Burhan forced them to fight when Sudanese army troops attacked his positions in Sports City on Saturday morning.

“We were surprised by very large forces that surrounded our troops in the Sports City and closed the streets and bridges. This means that they carried out a coup.”

“We regret fighting against our people from the armed forces, but this criminal forced us into this battle,” he said.

Hemetti vehemently added that the ongoing fighting was planned by the Islamists who want to rule the country again.

He went further to say that he had told all the (Sudanese) parties and the (international) QUAD for Sudan that “Burhan will not sign the (final political) agreement because he is a liar and a criminal who destroyed Sudan.”

Observers in Khartoum agree that the deployment of the RSF forces in Merowe precipitated the battles between the two sides. The army several times denounced the movements of the paramilitary forces without coordination with them.

Sudanese army spokesman Nabil Abdlallah, for his part, strongly rejected Hemetti’s accusations, stressing that it was the RSF that started hostilities.

“The Sudan Armed Forces have endured a lot of provocative behaviours by the Rapid Support Forces, and if they want to start aggression, they will not wait today,” Abdallah said.

“The RSF attacked our forces at the Sports City and other areas in an attempt to seize strategic sites,” he said.

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