(Khartoum) The Sudanese capital was rocked by gunfire and explosions on Saturday evening after a day of deadly street fighting, air raids and media and social media threats from the two generals in command of Sudan since the 2021 putsch.

In Khartoum, where the few civilians who had ventured out in the morning ran home, columns of smoke rose above paramilitary headquarters and the international airport.

A first report announced by the Union of doctors reported three civilians killed.

Throughout the day, calls for a ceasefire have multiplied: from the UN, Washington, Moscow, Paris, Rome, Riyadh, the African Union, the Arab League, the European Union and even the former Prime civilian minister Abdallah Hamdok. But nothing worked.

On Sunday, the Arab League announces an emergency meeting on Sudan, at the request of Cairo — where it sits — and Riyadh, two great allies of the Sudanese army, struggling with the paramilitaries who now want to dislodge it from power .

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on the two belligerents: army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhane and paramilitary boss Mohamed Hamdane Daglo, known as “Hemedti”, but also Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to call for “an immediate end to the violence”.

The paramilitaries say they are inflexible. They “will not stop until they have taken control of all the military bases”, threatened on al-Jazeera channel their commander Hemedti.

In the evening, on the Emirati channel Sky News Arabia, he repeated that he was “forced” to react. “We didn’t start it,” he said. “Burhane the criminal must surrender,” he said as gunshots echoed around him.

Its Rapid Support Forces (RSF)—thousands of ex-Darfur war militiamen turned army auxiliaries—said to have taken over the international airport and the presidential palace.

General Burhane has not appeared since the morning, but claims in a press release that he was “surprised at nine o’clock in the morning” by an attack on his HQ by the FSR, his former best ally whom the army now describes as “foreign-backed militia” to carry out his “treason”.

The army posted a “wanted notice” against Hemedti on its Facebook page. “This fugitive criminal is wanted by the judiciary,” reads the photo montage, as another statement announces the disbanding of the FSR, calling on all of these men to surrender.

On both sides, no more hushed negotiations under the aegis of diplomats and other civilized discussions, the army mobilized its planes to strike — and “destroy”, she says — RSF bases in Khartoum. As for calls to return to the negotiating table, the army replied that it was “impossible before the dissolution of the FSR”.

The latter call on the 45 million Sudanese and even the military to “join them” and turn against the army.

The inhabitants, themselves, remain cloistered at home. “I was going to work this morning, but as soon as I heard the gunshots, I went home,” Bakry, 24, told AFP.

The two sides are still battling it out for control of the state media headquarters, witnesses say.

During the putsch in October 2021, Hemedti and Burhane joined forces to oust civilians from power. But over time, Hemedti has consistently denounced the coup.

Even recently, he sided with civilians — therefore against the army in political negotiations — blocking discussions and therefore any solution to the crisis in Sudan.

For days, the streets had been buzzing with rumors of an impending guerrilla warfare between the two camps, as convoys of RSF tanks converged on Khartoum.

The army denies the seizure of the airport, but assures that the FSR “burned civilian planes there, including one from Saudi Airlines”. The company confirmed.

A video posted on Saturday by the FSR on Twitter shows men in uniforms presented as “Egyptian soldiers who surrendered with Sudanese soldiers” to the FSR in the military base of Meroe (north).

The Egyptian army spokesman said he was “monitoring the situation” confirming “the presence of Egyptian forces” in Sudan.

“They are safe and will be handed over to Egypt,” Hemedti told Sky News Arabia.

For the experts, the two commanders have not ceased in recent days to raise the stakes as civilians and the international community try to make them sign a political agreement supposed to relaunch the democratic transition.