Bodies litter streets as fighting intensifies in Sudan
WAD MADANI, Sudan (AFP)— Corpses littered the streets of a district of Sudan’s capital on Thursday, witnesses said, as the United Nations expressed alarm over escalating fighting in Darfur between the army and paramilitaries.
“The bodies of people in military uniforms are lying in the streets of the city centre after the fighting yesterday,” a witness in Omdurman, located across the Nile River from Khartoum, told AFP by telephone, an account confirmed by others.
Other witnesses said a shell slammed into Al-Nau hospital in the north of Omdurman, the last operational medical facility in the area, “killing a female worker”.
Since April, forces loyal to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan — Sudan’s de facto head of state — have been at war with the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) commanded by his former deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.
Intense fighting continued in Khartoum and its surrounding areas, as well as the vast western region of Darfur, where some of the bloodiest clashes have taken place.
The RSF has claimed control of all but one major city in Darfur.
Their advance amid a communications blackout has triggered renewed fears of ethnically motivated mass killings.
“Hundreds of thousands of civilians and displaced people are now in great danger in El Fasher, North Darfur, with a fast deteriorating security situation, lack of food and water and very poor services,” the UN’s deputy humanitarian coordinator for Darfur, Toby Harward, wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
“If the Rapid Support Forces and the Sudanese army fight for control of the city, it will have devastating impact on civilians,” he added.
The US embassy in Khartoum said it was “deeply disturbed by eyewitness reports of serious human rights abuses by the RSF and affiliated militias”.
This included “killings in Ardamata, West Darfur, ethnic targeting of the Masalit community leaders and members”, it said, referring to one of the largest non-Arab ethnic minorities in West Darfur.
Sudan’s ruling sovereign council reported the death of Masalit tribal leader Mohammad Arbab, saying he was “assassinated by the RSF’s rebel militias after attacking civilian homes in Ardamata”.
“His son and eight of his grandchildren were also killed in a heinous crime,” added the body, chaired by Burhan.
Since fighting broke out on April 15 between forces loyal to Burhan and Daglo, more than 10,000 people have been killed in Sudan, according to a conservative estimate from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data project.
About six million people have been uprooted from their homes, according to UN figures.
Sudan was facing an “unimaginable humanitarian crisis”, the UN refugee agency said Tuesday, with most hospitals shuttered and millions in severe need of aid as the violence continues unabated.