Aerial bombardment and heavy gunfire were also heard in Khartoum today as the new civil war enters its third week and tens of thousands flee for safety. “Fighting is taking place with heavy weapons and machine guns,” said a resident of the capital, while another spoke of “explosions and fires” in the neighborhoods.
The country was plunged into chaos on April 15 when the power struggle between the leader of the military junta, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the second in command of the military regime, General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, or “Hameti “, leader of the paramilitary Rapid Support Force (RSF), turns to war.
Since then, at least 528 people have been killed and another 4,599 injured, according to the latest count from the Health Ministry, which is apparently an underestimate as it is impossible to keep an accurate count of casualties. Bodies lie on the roads, which are impassable, civilians try to flee or survive locked in their homes, without electricity, running water, food, and about 70% of hospitals in the war zones have been closed, according to Sudanese doctors Association.
The army said it was under attack from all sides, as the two sides continued to accuse each other of violating an internationally negotiated ceasefire which was extended until midnight on Sunday. Yesterday, Burhan called the RSF a “paramilitary group that wants to destroy Sudan” with the help of “mercenaries from Chad, the Central African Republic and Niger”. “Khameti”, for his part, called his opponent a “traitor”, an “untrustworthy” person.
The two generals had staged a coup together in October 2021, following the overthrow of former dictator Omar El Bashir two years earlier. But their differences began to grow and their disagreement over the conditions for including paramilitaries in the regular forces erupted into open war on April 15.
The country’s former prime minister, Abdullah Hamdok, has warned that the crisis in his country could become worse than those in Syria and Libya. The clashes between the two sides would be a “nightmare for the world” if they continued, he said.
Although the so-called ceasefire did not stop hostilities, it did allow the evacuation corridors for civilians to remain open. Tens of thousands of Sudanese, as well as foreigners, have fled to neighboring states, mainly Egypt, Ethiopia, Chad and South Sudan, as foreign governments continue their frantic efforts to hastily deport hundreds of their nationals.
The British government announced that it had completed the evacuation operation during which nearly 1,900 people were evacuated. The last plane left Khartoum last night after the Sudanese military had previously blocked the British from boarding the final 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 have already left the African country, in addition to diplomats who were airlifted a week ago.
“The window of opportunity is closing,” warned the Government of Canada, noting 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 was particularly violent in Darfur, a region where war raged in the 2000s.
The country is collapsing
Speaking to Al Arabiya, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres summed up the situation as follows: “The war for power continues as the country crumbles.” “Society is collapsing, now we see tribes trying to arm themselves,” he said.
For the Organization’s special envoy to Sudan, Volker Pertes, although the tensions were palpable, there was “no indication” of what would happen in mid-April because, he said at Al Jazeera, the two generals were to meet to discuss that day. .
Although the guns have not been silent since, Salva Kiir, South Sudan’s president – and historically mediator in Sudan – yesterday called on the two rival generals to have a “face-to-face, constructive and solid”. . He also asked them “not to try to strengthen their positions”, as several observers said the truce had not been respected because neither side wanted to give the other a chance to move forward or muster forces. reinforcements.
The UN estimates that millions of Sudanese are also at risk of facing hunger, which already affects a third of the citizens of the country, one of the poorest on the planet.