Conflicts erupted near a military base on Thursday as heavy air strikes hammered southern parts of Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, in violence that has forced almost 1 million people from their homes and left locals there battling to survive.
Witnesses reported hearing the sounds of airstrikes by the army against the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) over a number of civilian neighborhoods in southern Khartoum, particularly close to the Taiba camp, as the army and a police reserve unit fought the RSF on the ground.
“The bombardment and the clashes don’t stop and there’s no way to flee from our homes. All our money is gone,” said Salah el-Din Othman, a 35-year-old resident of Khartoum.
“Even if we leave our houses again we’re afraid that gangs will loot everything in the house … we are living a nightmare of fear and poverty.”
The RSF spread throughout major portions of Khartoum and its neighboring cities of Bahri and Omdurman across the Nile after combat broke out on April 15. The army has primarily deployed air power and heavy artillery as it attempts to drive the RSF back.
However, the power battle has primarily been concentrated in the capital, despite violence also erupting in other regions of the country, including North Kordofan State and Darfur in western Sudan.
Both RSF commander Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, and army head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan are believed to have stayed in Khartoum throughout the conflict.
The most recent estimates indicate that over 220,000 individuals have fled to neighboring nations, while over 840,000 people have been displaced within Sudan.
In order to help 4.9 million vulnerable people as well as those who were fleeing to Chad, Egypt, and South Sudan, the UN World Food Program said that it was expanding its activities across at least six states in Sudan.
“The fighting in Sudan is devastating lives and livelihoods and forcing people to flee their homes with nothing but the clothes they are wearing,” WFP East Africa director Michael Dunford said in a statement.
On Wednesday, the UN said that more than half of Sudan’s 46 million people required humanitarian relief and protection and announced the commencement of a $3 billion aid appeal. Additionally, it stated that allegations of “horrific gender-based violence” in Sudan had been received.
The deaths of some relief workers early in the fighting and frequent instances of looting have hindered the aid effort.
After disagreements over preparations for the RSF to join the army and the future chain of command under an international agreement for a political transition toward civilian government, the most recent crisis erupted.
A ceasefire has not yet been achieved as a result of negotiations in Jeddah that were brokered by the US and Saudi Arabia.
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