Sudan’s armed forces have dismissed any possibility of negotiations or dialogue with the country's powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), amid ongoing violence in the country.
There will be "no negotiations or dialogue until the dissolution of the paramilitary RSF," the Sudanese armed forces said on their Facebook page on Saturday.
This came after the RSF claimed its fighters have wrested control of several key sites, including the presidential palace, the residence of army chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and Khartoum International Airport.
The Sudanese army has rejected all RSF's claims.
The ongoing violence in Sudan has caused great concern, with many countries urging the opposing sides to show restraint and engage in dialogue to end the hostilities.
On Saturday, the two sides exchanged gunfire in Khartoum and elsewhere across the country in an apparent struggle for control.
According to the Sudanese Doctors' Central Committee, at least 56 people have been killed and 595 others injured in the ongoing clashes.
The committee said it recorded deaths at Khartoum's airport and Omdurman, as well as west of Khartoum in the cities of Nyala, El Obeid and El Fasher.
UN chief calls for end to violence in Sudan
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for an immediate end to the violence in Sudan, his spokesperson said on Twitter.
The Secretary-General strongly condemns the outbreak of fighting in #Sudan between the Rapid Support Forces and the Sudanese Armed Forces.— UN Spokesperson (@UN_Spokesperson) April 15, 2023
He calls on them to immediately cease hostilities, restore calm and initiate a dialogue to resolve the crisis.
According to Stéphane Dujarric, Guterres made the remarks while speaking with leaders of the army, the paramilitary, Egypt's president, and the chair of the African Union Commission.
Iran has also expressed concern over the ongoing violence in Sudan, urging the opposing sides to show restraint and engage in dialogue to end the unrest in the country.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran expresses its concern over what is taking place in the Muslim and brotherly country of Sudan," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kan'ani said on Saturday.
Sudan military’s airstrikes hit RSF base
Meanwhile, Sudan's military said it has launched airstrikes on the RSF’s base near the capital in a bid to reassert control over the country.
The strike, which came at the end of a day of heavy fighting, struck a base belonging to the RSF in the city of Omdurman, which adjoins the capital Khartoum, eyewitnesses were quoted by Reuters as saying late on Saturday.
The Sudanese air force told people to stay indoors while it conducted what it called an aerial survey of RSF activity, and a holiday was declared in Khartoum state for Sunday, closing schools, banks and government offices.
RSF says ready to cooperate over Egyptian troops
In a separate development, the head of the RSF said his forces were ready to cooperate with Egypt to ease the return of Egyptian troops, who had handed themselves over to the group in the northern Sudanese town of Merowe.
After clashes erupted across Sudan between the RSF and the army, the RSF shared a video claiming that it showed Egyptian troops who had "surrendered" to them in Merowe, about halfway between Khartoum and the border with Egypt.
Egypt's military said Egyptian forces were in Sudan to conduct exercises with their Sudanese counterparts and that it was coordinating with Sudanese authorities to guarantee their safety.
RSF leader, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemedti, told Sky News Arabia TV that the Egyptian soldiers were safe and that the RSF had provided them with food and water and was ready to facilitate their return.
Egypt has long been wary of political change in Sudan. It strongly supports Sudan's army and has recently promoted negotiations with pro-army political parties in parallel to a plan for a transition towards elections backed by Hemedti.
Chad closes border with Sudan amid simmering violence
In another related development, the government of Chad announced Saturday it was closing its border with Sudan after battles erupted in the neighboring country.
"Faced with this troubling situation, Chad, while securing its borders, has decided to close the frontier with Sudan until further notice," government spokesman, Aziz Mahamat Saleh, said in a statement.
Chad shares a more then 1,000-kilometer (600-mile) border with Sudan, much of it abutting Darfur, long the theater of tribal violence.
"The fighting is not only in Khartoum" and there is "a risk of spillover and infiltration," a member of the Chadian government told AFP on condition of anonymity.