Aerial bombardments and heavy gunfire were also heard today in Khartoum as the new civil war enters its third week and tens of thousands of people flee for safety. “Battles with heavy weapons and machine guns are taking place,” said one man from the capital, while another spoke of “explosions and fires” in neighborhoods.
The country was thrown into chaos on April 15 when a power struggle between the head of the military junta, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the second-in-command of the military regime, General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, or ” Hameti”, head of the paramilitary Rapid Support Force (RSF), turned into a war.
Since then, at least 528 people have died and another 4,599 have been injured, according to the latest count by the Ministry of Health, which is apparently an underestimate because it is impossible to keep an exact count of the victims. Bodies lie on the roads, which are impassable, civilians try to flee or survive locked up in their homes, without electricity, running water, food, and around 70% of hospitals in war zones have been closed, according to Sudanese doctors. . association
The army said it was under fire from all directions, while the two sides continued to accuse each other of violating an internationally negotiated ceasefire that lasted until midnight on Sunday. Yesterday, Burhan called the RSF a “paramilitary group that wants to destroy Sudan” with the help of “mercenaries who came from Chad, the Central African Republic and Niger.” “Khameti”, for his part, branded his opponent as a “traitor”, an “untrustworthy” person.
The two generals had carried out a coup together in October 2021, after the overthrow of former dictator Omar El Bashir two years earlier. But their differences began to grow, and their disagreement over the terms of including the paramilitaries in the regular forces erupted into open warfare on April 15.
The country’s former prime minister, Abdullah Hamdok, warned that the crisis in his country could be worse than those in Syria and Libya. The clashes between the two sides would be a “nightmare for the world” if they continue, he said.
Although the supposed ceasefire did not stop the hostilities, it allowed civilian evacuation corridors to remain open. Tens of thousands of Sudanese, as well as foreigners, have fled to neighboring states, mainly Egypt, Ethiopia, Chad and South Sudan, while foreign governments continue their frantic efforts to expel hundreds of their citizens quickly.
The British government announced that it had completed the evacuation operation in which about 1,900 people were evacuated. The last plane left Khartoum last night, and the Sudanese army first prevented the British from boarding the last flights.
The US government noted that a convoy had arrived in Port Sudan to evacuate more US citizens by boat to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. He said hundreds of Americans had already left the African country, in addition to the diplomats who flew in a week ago.
“The window of opportunity is closing,” warned the Canadian government, which noted that it “continues to consider various options,” land and sea routes.
According to the United Nations, 75,000 people have been displaced by the fighting, which is particularly fierce in Darfur, a region where the war broke out in the 2000s.
The country is falling apart
Speaking to Al Arabiya, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres summed up the situation as follows: “the war for power continues as the country collapses.” “Society is collapsing, we see tribes now trying to arm themselves,” he stressed.
For the Organization’s special envoy to Sudan, Volker Pertes, although the tensions were palpable, “there were no indications” of what would happen in mid-April, since, he told Al Jazeera, the two generals were to meet to discuss that day. . .
Although the weapons have not been silent since then, Salva Kiir, the president of South Sudan -and historically a mediator in Sudan- yesterday called on the two rival generals to have a “face-to-face, constructive and solid dialogue”. . He also asked them “not to try to strengthen their positions” as several observers said the truce did not hold because neither side wanted to give the other a chance to advance or gather reinforcements.
The UN estimates that millions of Sudanese are also at risk of facing hunger, already suffered by a third of the country’s citizens, one of the poorest on the planet.