Sudan’s top army general formally fires rival paramilitary leader as his deputy in symbolic gesture

CAIRO (AP) — In a symbolic gesture, Sudan’s army general on Friday fired the paramilitary leader — his former ally turned rival — as the deputy of the country’s governing body, state media reported.

The dismissal by Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan of Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, commander of the Rapid Support Forces, from the Sovereignty Council comes as the two warring generals continue to battle for control over this troubled African country.

The monthlong conflict that has killed at least 705 people, the World Health organization said Friday.

The firing, reported by the state SUNA news agency, is unlikely to affect the battlefield where the warring sides appear locked in a stalemate and unwilling to end the hostilities. The paramilitary forces did not immediately comment.

Last week, the two sides signed a U.S-Saudi brokered pact vowing to better protect civilians caught in the crossfire. International efforts are underway to try and build a lasting truce.

Burhan appointed Malik Agar, a once prominent leader of the Sudan Revolutionary Front, a rebel movement in Sudan’s southern Blue Nile State, to replace Dagalo, SUNA said.

The United Nations and rights groups have accused Sudan’s warring sides of human rights abuses. The army has been blamed for bombing residential areas and hospitals, while the RSF was condemned for looting, attacking civilians and turning civilian houses into operational bases.

The fighting has been most acute in the Sudanese capital and in the western Darfur region, where the RSF retain a strong presence. At least 280 civilians were killed in two days of fighting last week in the West Darfur capital of Geneina, Sudan Doctors Union said.

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