Sudan’s top general says military committed to civilian rule

Sudan’s top general said Friday the military remains committed to a transition to civilian rule, in his first speech since brutal fighting between his forces and the country’s powerful paramilitary began nearly a week ago.

In a video message released early Friday to mark the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday, army chief General Abdel Fattah Burhan said: “We are confident that we will overcome this ordeal with our training, wisdom and strength, preserving the security and unity of the state, allowing us to be entrusted with the safe transition to civilian rule.”

Since he took control of the country in an October 2021 coup, Burhan and his rival, commander of the Rapid Support Forces Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, have repeatedly promised to shepherd the country until a civilian government has been elected. However, both have failed to sign political agreements that would see their institutions lose power.

The video message was the first time Burhan has been seen since the capital and other areas descended into chaos in the fighting. It wasn’t known when or where the video was made.

On Thursday, Sudan’s military ruled out negotiations with the rival Rapid Support Forces, saying it would only accept its surrender. The two sides continued to battle in central Khartoum and other parts of the country, threatening to wreck international attempts to broker a longer cease-fire.

The military’s statement raised the likelihood of a renewed surge in the nearly weeklong violence that has killed hundreds and pushed Sudan’s population to the breaking point. The alarm has grown that the country’s medical system was on the verge of collapse, with many hospitals forced to shut down and others running out of supplies

“Ruin and destruction and the sound of bullets have left no place for the happiness everyone in our beloved country deserves,” Burhan said in the speech.

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