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Battle of Merowe

Battle of Merowe
Part of the 2023 Sudan conflict
Date15–21 April 2023 (6 days)

SAF victory

  • RSF captures Merowe airport on April 15
  • SAF captures the airport on April 19, and RSF retreats from Merowe on April 21
Sudanese Armed Forces
Rapid Support Forces
Casualties and losses
204 POWs Unknown

The Battle of Merowe was a military engagement of the 2023 Sudan conflict between RSF and SAF for the control of the city of Merowe and it's airport.


On 11 April 2023, RSF forces deployed near the city of Merowe and in Khartoum.[1] Government forces ordered them to leave, but they refused. This led to clashes when RSF forces took control of the Soba military base south of Khartoum.[1] On 13 April, RSF forces began their mobilization, raising fears of a potential rebellion against the junta. The SAF declared the mobilization illegal.[2]


At noon on April 15, RSF forces claimed to have captured Merowe Airport.[3] In their statement, they claimed to have captured several Egyptian soldiers at the airport as well, along with a plane with markings of the Egyptian Air Force.[4][5] While initially no official explanation was given for the Egyptian soldiers' presence, Egypt later stated around 200 of their soldiers were conducting exercises with the Sudanese military.[6]

The next day, at around 13:30 local time, the SAF announced the rescue of a major general and a brigadier, along with the arrests of multiple officers at Merowe airport. The SAF also claimed the capture of the airport, with videos showing army vehicles storming the base.[7] The army also claimed several RSF leaders had deserted or surrendered to the SAF.[3] Some RSF members that deserted brought the Egyptian prisoners with them.[3]

Fighting broke out the next day west of Merowe Airport, and by 10:00 AM local time, the RSF claimed to have full control over the airport.[8][9] On April 18, eyewitnesses reported seeing an RSF column heading away from the perimeter of the airport towards al-Multaqa following SAF airstrikes on the airport.[10] By April 19, the SAF had regained full control over the airport, although it had been destroyed.[11] The RSF still claimed to have a presence in other parts of Merowe. The Sudanese Army gained full control over Merowe by April 21.[12]


The RSF claimed on April 17 to aid in efforts to repatriate the Egyptian prisoners of war. However, the group announced that they had moved the soldiers to Khartoum on April 19 and would hand them over when the "appropriate opportunity" arose.[13] Of the 204 Egyptian troops taken prisoner, 177 were flown back to Egypt that same day. The remaining 27 soldiers sheltered at the Egyptian embassy in Khartoum.[14]


  1. ^ a b Sudan: clashes around the presidential palace, there are fears of a coup attempt in Khartoum – video Archived 15 April 2023 at the Wayback Machine, 15 April 2023.
  2. ^ "Fears in Sudan as army and paramilitary force face off". Al Jazeera. Archived from the original on 14 April 2023. Retrieved 2023-04-15.
  3. ^ a b c السودان.. اشتباكات عنيفة بين الجيش وقوات الدعم السريع (لحظة بلحظة). Al Jazeera (in Arabic). Archived from the original on 15 April 2023. Retrieved 2023-04-16.
  4. ^ "Sudan's RSF says it's ready to cooperate over Egyptian troops". Reuters. 15 April 2023. Archived from the original on 15 April 2023. Retrieved 2023-04-16.
  5. ^ "Sudan paramilitary group says it has seized presidential palace and Khartoum airport amid clashes with army – live". The Guardian. 15 April 2023. Archived from the original on April 18, 2023.
  6. ^ "Sudan's paramilitary shares video they claim shows 'surrendered' Egyptian troops". al-Arabiya. 15 April 2023. Archived from the original on 15 April 2023. Retrieved 15 April 2023.
  7. ^ "عناصر من الجيش ينشرون صورا لدخولهم قاعدة مروي العسكرية #السودان #العربية". Archived from the original on 17 April 2023. Retrieved 16 April 2023.
  8. ^ "Clashes reported west of Merowe's airport". Al Jazeera. Archived from the original on 17 April 2023. Retrieved 2023-04-17.
  9. ^ "Rapid Support extends its full control over Marawi Airport". Twitter. @RSFSudan. Archived from the original on 18 April 2023. Retrieved 17 April 2023.
  10. ^ "Relative calm at Merowe airport: AJ correspondent". Al Jazeera. Archived from the original on 18 April 2023. Retrieved 2023-04-18.
  11. ^ "Fighting rages in central Khartoum on the fifth day of clashes". Al Jazeera. Archived from the original on April 19, 2023. Retrieved 2023-04-19.
  12. ^ "The Sudanese army has imposed complete control over Marawi". Twitter. Archived from the original on 23 April 2023. Retrieved 2023-04-21.
  13. ^ "Egyptian soldiers in Sudan moved from airbase – RSF". BBC. 19 April 2023. Archived from the original on 17 April 2023. Retrieved 19 April 2023.
  14. ^ "Egyptian air force personnel remain in Khartoum: Sudanese army corrects earlier statement". Aljazeera. 20 April 2023. Archived from the original on 20 April 2023. Retrieved 20 April 2023.

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Battle of Merowe
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