Hundreds of Civilians Killed in Khartoum, Amid Power Struggles in Sudan

270+ Civilians Killed in Sudan as Army and Paramilitaries Clash in Power Struggle"

In recent days, violent clashes between the Sudanese army and paramilitary forces have erupted in Khartoum and other parts of the country, resulting in the deaths of more than 270 civilians. Witnesses have reported seeing bodies in the streets, and foreign diplomats have been attacked. Reports of sexual violence against aid workers have also emerged. As a result, many governments are planning to evacuate their citizens, including UN staff.

The fighting began on Saturday between two generals who had seized power in a 2019 coup: army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The dispute was over the integration of the RSF into the regular army, which is a key condition for a final deal aimed at restoring Sudan’s democratic transition.

Despite a 24-hour humanitarian ceasefire announced by South Sudan, the violence continued, and the RSF said it would commit to a complete ceasefire starting at 1600 GMT on Wednesday for 24 hours. However, the army has made no comment on this development. Witnesses report that civilians are becoming increasingly desperate, with dwindling food supplies, power outages, and a lack of running water.

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According to Clement Deshayes, a Sudan specialist at Paris’s Sorbonne University, “Neither side seems to be winning at the moment, and given the intensity of the violence, things could get even worse before the two generals come to the negotiating table.” As a result, thousands of people have taken matters into their own hands and begun leaving their homes in Khartoum, some in cars and others on foot, including women and children.

The US embassy in Khartoum has reported that the toll has been high, with initial estimated civilian deaths of more than 270. However, the real toll is thought to be far higher, with many wounded unable to reach hospitals, which are themselves being shelled. Out of 59 main hospitals in Khartoum, about 39 are currently “out of service,” according to the official doctors’ union, which has reported “severe shortages” in remaining facilities. Aid groups have reported looting of medical and other supplies.

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As a result of the violence, Japan has begun preparations to evacuate around 60 of its nationals from Sudan, including embassy staff. Berlin has aborted an evacuation attempt involving three military transport planes, which would have carried 150 citizens. The US embassy in Khartoum has started gathering citizens’ personal details while urging them to remain indoors and stay away from windows. However, due to the uncertain security situation in Khartoum and the closure of the airport, there are no plans for a US government-coordinated evacuation.

The battles that began on Saturday are the culmination of deep-seated divisions between the army and the RSF, which was created in 2013 by longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir. Burhan and Daglo toppled Bashir together in April 2019 following mass protests against his three decades of iron-fisted rule. Since then, both generals have positioned themselves as saviors of Sudan and guardians of democracy.

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