Explosions and gunfire continued to rock Sudan’s capital Khartoum on Thursday despite relentless calls from the international community for a ceasefire between the two generals vying for power.
Thousands of people have fled the capitalof five million inhabitants, to take refuge from the bombings, shootings and clashes that have shaken Khartoum, the western region of Darfur and other parts of the country since Saturday.
“In some districts of the center there is the smell of death and corpses,” said a resident of the capital, as he walked towards a quieter area.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has participated in a new balance of “about 330 killed and 3,200 wounded”.
waking up to the bombing
“At half past four in the morning we were awakened by the noise of air raids. We closed all the doors and windows, for fear of a stray bullet getting in,” another Khartoum resident, Nazek Abdallah, 38, told AFP. .
Many locals have had no choice but to flee on foot as the price of petrol has skyrocketed: a liter of fuel now costs $10, in one of the poorest countries in the world.
To leave Khartoum they had to submit to searches and questions from men stationed at checkpoints of the Rapid Support Forces (FAR), the paramilitaries of General Mohamed Hamdan Dalgo, known as Hemedti, and the army of General Abdel Fatah al Burhan. Sudan’s de facto leader after coup d’état perpetrated by both generals in 2021.
corpses in the streets
Furthermore, they had to make their way among the corpses lying on the roadside, the charred tanks and trucks and avoid the most dangerous areas of the city, from which thick columns of black smoke rose.
Since the simmering power struggle between the two generals escalated into an open battle on Saturday, the confusion has been complete for the 45 million Sudanese. Both sides keep promising truces they never honor.
In the streets strewn with rubble, it is impossible to know who controls the main institutions of the country.
Regular aviation, which targets FAR bases and posts scattered across populated areas of Khartoum, does not hesitate to drop bombs, sometimes on hospitals, according to doctors.
In five days “70% of the 74 hospitals in Khartoum and in the areas affected by the fighting have been put out of service”, according to a union of doctors.
Hunger, blackouts and water shortages
Several humanitarian organizations have had to suspend their aid, which is crucial in a country where more than one in three people go hungry in normal times.
Civilians staying at home are increasingly desperate in the face of food shortages, blackouts and lack of clean water.
The UN, the African Union, the Arab League and other regional organizations will meet again on Thursday to call for a ceasefire.
Amidst this chaos, the Sudanese military indicated that 177 Egyptian soldiers captured by paramilitaries in the city of Meroe (north) had been evacuated to Egypt on Wednesday, which confirmed their arrival.
Another 27 captured Egyptian soldiers were handed over to the Sudanese Red Cross, which in turn took them to the Egyptian embassy on Thursday. The UAE said it “led” the mediation for the release of these soldiers.
Three employees of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) have died in Darfur. The United Nations has also denounced the “looting” of its reserves and “attacks” on its personnel, including sexual ones.
The outbreak of violence on Saturday was the culmination of deep divisions between the army and the FAR, created in 2013 by the ousted autocratic leader Omar al Bashir.
Burhan and Daglo together toppled Bashir in April 2019 after massive popular protests against his three decades of rule.
In October 2021, the two men led a coup against the civilian government that took over after Bashir’s departure, ending a transition supported by the international community.
Burhan, a career military officer from northern Sudan, said the coup was “necessary” to bring other factions into politics.
But for Daglo, the coup was a “mistake” that failed to bring about change and instead strengthened those left over from the Bashir regime.
Mary Ortiz is a seasoned journalist with a passion for world events. As a writer for News Rebeat, she brings a fresh perspective to the latest global happenings and provides in-depth coverage that offers a deeper understanding of the world around us.