Sudan’s army chief, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has accused United Nations Special Envoy Volker Perthes of fomenting a horrific battle with paramilitaries, the latest in a series of apparent measures to bolster his war effort.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was “shocked” by Burhan’s letter, which urged “the nomination of a replacement” for Perthes and accused him of “fraud and disinformation” in aiding a political process that devolved into six weeks of catastrophic urban warfare.
Burhan and his former deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who leads the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, were supposed to meet for UN-mediated talks on April 15, the day they declared Khartoum a war zone.
The gathering attempted to restart a transition to civilian administration that had been stalled since 2021, when Burhan and Daglo seized power in a coup before splitting off. As their feud grew worse, the world community attempted to persuade them to strike an agreement on the incorporation of Daglo’s RSF into the regular army.
Perthes and the UN mission in Sudan, which he leads, have been the target of repeated protests since late last year, with thousands of military and Islamist sympathizers accusing Perthes of “foreign intervention” and demanding his expulsion.
Since the beginning of the war, similar protests have taken place in the eastern city of Port Sudan.
Perthes retained his “optimism,” saying the war caught him off guard.
Burhan accused Perthes of bias in the letter and of failing to respect “national sovereignty.”
Perthes, he claimed, painted an inaccurate picture of “consensus” in his UN reports, and “without these signs of encouragement, the rebel leader Daglo would not have launched his military operations.”
It has never been possible to determine who fired the opening shots.
According to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, violence in Sudan has killed over 1,800 people.