Residents in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on Monday, April 17 woke to the sounds of artillery and bombardment by warplanes, as intense fighting continued for a third day with death toll reaching 100, while hundred more are injured.
Clashes first erupted on Saturday April 15, between the country’s military and the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF), led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, who revealed the Sudanese army had broken a UN-brokered temporary humanitarian ceasefire.
Reports say the mortars and artillery fire came in the direction of Khartoum International Airport and Sudanese Army garrison sites.
Social media video footage show military jets and helicopters hitting the airport; other clips show the charred remains of the army’s General Command building nearby after it was engulfed in fire on Sunday.
In the Kafouri area, north of Khartoum, clashes and street fights broke out at dawn Monday, prompting residents to begin evacuating women and children from the area, Sudanese journalist Fathi Al-Ardi wrote on Facebook. In the Kalakla area, south of the capital, residents reported the walls of their houses shaking from explosions.
As of Monday, at least 97 people have been killed, according to the Preliminary Committee of Sudanese Doctors trade union. Earlier on Sunday, the World Health Organization estimated more than 1,126 were injured.
In an interview with CNN, Dagalo blamed the military for starting the conflict and claimed RSF “had to keep fighting to defend ourselves.”
He said that the army chief and his rival, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, had lost control of the military. When asked if his endgame was to rule Sudan, Dagalo said he had “no such intentions,” and that there should be a civilian government.
Access to information in the country is also limited, with the government-owned national TV channel now off the air with reports indicating it is in the hands of the RSF.
Qatar Airways announced Sunday it was temporarily suspending flights to and from Khartoum due to the closure of its airport and airspace.
Dagalo also said the RSF was in control of the airport, as well as several other government buildings in the capital.
The United States embassy in Sudan said on Sunday, that there were no plans for a government-coordinated evacuation yet for Americans in the country, citing the closure of the Khartoum airport. It advised US citizens to stay indoors and shelter in place, adding that it would make an announcement “if evacuation of private US citizens becomes necessary.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly also for an immediate ceasefire.
“People in Sudan want the military back in the barracks, they want democracy, they want a civilian-led government. Sudan needs to return to that path,” Blinken said, speaking on the sidelines of the G7 foreign minister talks in Japan on Monday.
The UN’s political mission in Sudan has said the country’s two warring factions have agreed to a “proposal” although it is not yet clear what that entails.
The two military leaders behind this fighting, Dagalo and Burhan had worked together to topple ousted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in 2019, and played a pivotal role in the military coup in 2021, which ended a power-sharing agreement between the military and civilian groups.
The military has been in charge of Sudan since then, with Burhan and Dagalo at the helm.
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