(Khartoum) Bombers over Khartoum came under heavy fire on Saturday as fierce fighting between the Sudanese army and paramilitaries enters its third week, in violation of a new truce.
Sudan has been in chaos since a bloody power struggle broke out on April 15 between army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhane and his number two, Mohamed Hamdane Daglo, known as “Hedmedti”, in the head of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
On Saudi news channel Al-Arabiya, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres lamented the continued fighting in the capital and other areas as “the country is collapsing”.
Each side accuses the other of violating the extended three-day truce under international mediation. It expires Sunday at midnight (6 p.m. EST).
Civilians are trying to flee or survive barricaded amid widespread shortages, including of electricity, water and food.
“We woke up once again to the sound of fighter jets and anti-aircraft weapons all over our neighborhood,” a resident in southern Khartoum told AFP.
Another witness said that the fighting has been going on since dawn, particularly around the headquarters of the public television channel in Omdurman, a city in the northern suburbs of Khartoum.
About 70% of hospitals in areas close to the fighting are out of service and many have been bombed, according to the doctors’ union.
On Friday, the two generals at war were torn apart by the media.
On the American Arabic-language television channel Al-Hurra, General al-Burhane called the RSF “a militia seeking to destroy Sudan” and claimed that “mercenaries” were arriving from Chad, the Central African Republic and Niger.
General “Hemedti” Daglo called him on the BBC about his rival as a “traitor” who is “untrustworthy”.
Several states are trying to find a way out of the conflict, to no avail. And the visit of a representative of General Burhane scheduled for Saturday in Cairo has been postponed indefinitely.
The fighting since April 15 has left at least 512 dead and 4,193 injured, according to official statistics, which are said to be grossly underestimated.
Some 75,000 people have been displaced due to the particularly heavy fighting in the volatile Darfur region, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Tens of thousands of Sudanese have fled to neighboring states including Egypt, Ethiopia, Chad and South Sudan, while foreign countries carry out mass evacuations of their nationals.
On Saturday, a boat carrying around 1,900 evacuees of various nationalities arrived in Jeddah, western Saudi Arabia. Britain ended its evacuation flights on Saturday, and all international UN staff have now left Darfur.
The UN World Food Program (WFP) estimates that millions more people could face hunger in one of the world’s poorest countries, where a third of the 45 million people already needed food. food aid before this war.
Looting, destruction and fires are increasing in West Darfur, including in camps for the displaced, reports Médecins sans frontières (MSF). The NGO had to “stop almost all of [its] activities in West Darfur”, because of the violence, regrets its deputy head in Sudan, Sylvain Perron, saying he is “extremely worried”.
The Darfur region remains marked by a bloody conflict that began in 2003 between the regime of dictator Omar al-Bashir, who was ousted in 2019, and insurgents from ethnic minorities. This conflict left around 300,000 dead and nearly 2.5 million displaced, according to the UN.
Generals Burhane and Daglo took power in a putsch in 2021, which dashed hopes of democratic transition in Sudan. But then they became rivals, failing to agree on integrating the much-feared paramilitary FSRs into the regular army.