The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have launched a devastating assault on government institutions in the capital city of Central Darfur State, Zalingei. A senior official, speaking on condition of anonymity, revealed that the RSF had gained control over the city and proceeded to destroy all government buildings, with the exception of the army command. This alarming development has raised concerns about the region’s stability and the potential for an all-out civil war.
The clashes between the army and the RSF in Zalingei have been ongoing since April 20, leading to a tense and volatile situation. On May 18, communication and internet services were abruptly cut off from the state, which is partially controlled by the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLM-AW), a non-signatory group. This isolation has further exacerbated the crisis, making it difficult for information to flow in and out of the area.
According to the official, the RSF and their allied militias have taken control of numerous government institutions, including the government secretariat, ministry headquarters, police headquarters, and the Central Reserve Forces Command. Shockingly, some of these buildings were not only looted but also set on fire, adding to the chaos and destruction. The official further revealed that the residence of Governor Saad Adam Babikir has been transformed into a military barracks and serves as the headquarters for RSF commander Maj Gen Ali Yaqoub Gibril.
The situation has escalated to the point where the army headquarters has become the target of relentless attacks by the RSF and Arab tribal militias. However, the army has managed to repel these assaults and inflict heavy losses on the assailants. The official also highlighted instances where gunmen in the Hamidiya and Five Minutes camps, which are under the control of the non-signatory group SLM-AW, successfully fought off attacks by RSF-backed Arab tribal militias. These militias attempted to storm the camps and loot the homes of the displaced residents, but their efforts were thwarted.
The consequences of the RSF’s actions have been dire for the local population. The official emphasized the scarcity of essential supplies and medicines due to the looting of the large market. Moreover, civilians have been forced to flee their homes, seeking refuge in South Darfur state and areas controlled by the SLM-AW in Jebel Marra. The displacement of innocent people and the destruction of vital infrastructure paint a grim picture of the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Central Darfur.
With the RSF and their allied militias gaining control over significant portions of Darfur, there are growing concerns about the region being on the verge of an all-out civil war. The atrocities committed by the RSF and their allies have raised international alarm, calling for immediate action to prevent further bloodshed and protect innocent lives.