Military leader Burhan visits east Sudan in first tour outside of capital since conflict erupted

This is a locator map for Sudan with its capital, Khartoum. (AP Photo)

CAIRO (AP) — The head of Sudan's army made a rare public speech Monday in his first tour outside of the capital since the conflict with a rival general erupted in mid-April.

Sudan was plunged into chaos after monthslong tensions between the military, led by Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces, commanded by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, exploded into open fighting on April 15.

In the eastern coastal city of Port Sudan, Burhan said a military operation that included naval and air forces enabled him to leave the capital's army headquarters safely. Two people were killed in the operation, he said.

The conflict has reduced the capital to an urban battlefield, with the RSF controlling vast swaths of the city. The military command, where Burhan has purportedly been stationed since April, has been one of the epicenters of the conflict, besieged by RSF forces.

Burhan said no agreement had been reached “with the traitors or with any party outside of the Sudanese people” to facilitate his departure from the capital.

The violence in the northeast African country is estimated to have killed at least 4,000 people, according to Liz Throssell, a spokesperson for the U.N. human rights office. However, activists and doctors on the ground say the death toll is likely far higher.

In a statement issued late Sunday, Dagalo unveiled a new initiative that could restart peace talks between the two forces.

The 10-point plan titled “Sudan Reborn,” calls for a lasting cease-fire, democratic elections and a unified army.

Formal peace negations mediated by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia in the Saudi coastal town of Jeddah took place during May and June. However talks were formally adjourned in late June with both mediators publicly calling out the RSF and the army for continually violating truces they had agreed to.

There have been at least nine cease-fires since the conflict erupted in April and all have foundered.