(Khartoum) A former head of the dictatorship in Sudan wanted for crimes against humanity has announced that he escaped from prison with other ex-collaborators in this country in full chaos, raising fears of a new conflagration when a US-brokered ceasefire remains fragile.
On Wednesday, clashes continued in Khartoum where army fighter jets flew over the northern suburbs of the capital, coming under heavy artillery fire from paramilitaries, witnesses told AFP.
For the past 12 days, the deadly fighting has pitted the paramilitaries of General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo’s Rapid Support Forces (FSR) against the regular army of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane. Authors of the coup at the end of 2021, the two generals are now waging a merciless war for power.
Taking advantage of a chaotic situation, an important figure in the regime of ex-dictator Omar al-Bashir, Ahmed Haroun, escaped from Kober prison in the capital Khartoum, along with other senior officials of the dictatorship. .
“We have been in detention in Kober for nine days…and now we have the responsibility for our protection” in another location, Haroun said in an address recorded on Sudanese television on Tuesday evening.
For its part, the ICC prosecutor’s office said it was following the events closely, observing that information about those incarcerated in Kober had not been “independently confirmed”.
A conflict broke out in Darfur in 2003 between Khartoum and members of non-Arab ethnic minorities. It killed some 300,000 people and displaced 2.5 million, according to the UN. The FSR forces include thousands of former Arab militiamen recruited by Bashir and suspected of abuses in Darfur.
Since the start of fighting in Sudan on April 15 between paramilitaries and the regular army, more than 459 people have been killed and more than 4,000 injured according to the UN.
The head of the UN mission in Sudan, Volker Perthes, who remained in the country, said the belligerents “attacked densely populated areas without regard to civilians, hospitals, or even vehicles carrying the wounded and sick. “.
Some “6,000 people of different nationalities crossed” the border with Ethiopia, said a Sudanese official at the Gallabat border post (east). According to the UN, several tens of thousands of people have already arrived in all the countries bordering Sudan.
A total of 270,000 people could flee to neighboring Chad and South Sudan, the United Nations warns.
“The hardest thing is the sound of bombings and fighter jets flying over our house. It terrified the children,” said Safa Abu Taher, who returned with his family to Jordan.
A boat carrying 1,687 civilians who fled Sudan and originating from more than 50 countries arrived in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, 245 French nationals and foreigners evacuated by plane by the French authorities landed near Paris, and the government of the Kingdom United announced that it had evacuated from Sudan more than 301 people, mostly British.
Those who cannot leave Khartoum, a city of more than five million people, try to survive without water and electricity, subject to food shortages and telephone and internet blackouts.
According to the doctors’ union, almost three-quarters of hospitals are out of service in Sudan. In Khartoum, more than 60% of medical centers are closed, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.
She added that a “thorough health risk assessment” was underway after one of the two sides took over a “public laboratory” in Khartoum, which contains pathogens of measles, cholera and poliomyelitis.
In the eyes of Dame Rosalind Marsden, former British Ambassador and former European Union Special Representative for Sudan, “what we are witnessing is a power struggle between two generals, but it is also an attempt to derail Sudan’s democratic transition and bring the country back under the control of the old regime”.