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Continued Fighting in Sudan Leads to Increasing Death Toll for Sixth Consecutive Day

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The fighting between the forces of two rival Sudanese generals showed no signs of abating as explosions and gunfire rang out in the capital, Khartoum, on Thursday.

More than 300 people have been killed since fighting broke out on Saturday between forces loyal to Sudan’s army chief, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and his deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

Some of the fiercest fighting took place in the capital, Khartoum, home to five million people, most of whom are trapped in their homes without electricity, food or water.

“We woke up … to the roar of fighter jets and air strikes,” said Nazik Abdullah, 38, in southern Khartoum. “We closed our doors and windows, hoping that stray bullets would not hit our building.”

Fighting entered a sixth day, hours after another truce collapsed, with gunfire heard and thick black smoke seen billowing from buildings surrounding Khartoum International Airport and the army headquarters in the capital.

The Rapid Support Forces, a powerful force made up of Janjaweed militiamen who have spearheaded years of intense violence in Darfur, said its forces would “fully abide by a full 24-hour ceasefire” from Wednesday evening, as did the army.

But eyewitnesses said the gunfire did not stop in Khartoum, where another ceasefire was breached within minutes of its supposed start for the second time in as many days.

Taghreed Abdeen, a Sudanese architect residing in the capital, said that the bombing did not stop in the conflict areas of Khartoum.

She added that while many had taken refuge in their homes, others were venturing out and taking risks “to protect themselves and their families to find safety either in other parts of Khartoum or in other parts of Sudan”.

Outside Khartoum, eyewitnesses reported loud explosions in the city of Obeid, North Kordofan state, in the center of the country.

‘spirit of death’

“It smells of death in some parts of the city,” said a witness who was leaving a hotspot in central Khartoum.

Ahmed Al-Mandhari of the World Health Organization said Thursday that “nearly 330 people have been killed and nearly 3,200 injured” in Khartoum, the western region of Darfur and other states.

The fighting has taken a heavy toll on civilians across Sudan.

“We wish the fighting would stop during the Eid celebrations,” which begin on Friday to mark the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims, said Abdullah, a resident of southern Khartoum.

“We know that won’t happen though,” he added.

The bitter dispute between Burhan and Daglu centered on the planned integration of the RSF into the regular army – a prerequisite for a final agreement aimed at restoring democratic transition in Sudan.

Around the capital and elsewhere, RSF fighters have dominated the streets in armored vehicles and pickup trucks loaded with machine guns.

Many have set up checkpoints to check cars carrying civilians trying to escape from the worst fighting areas in Khartoum to safer areas in the capital and beyond.

Residential and commercial buildings have been destroyed by fighting, and civilians sheltering in their homes are becoming increasingly desperate.

By Tuesday, thousands of Sudanese had fled the capital, and many said they saw bodies littering the streets as they made their way to safety.

hit hospitals

Sudanese medics have warned of the catastrophic health care situation, especially in Khartoum where many hospitals appear to have been caught in the crossfire.

The Doctors Syndicate said that up to 70 percent of hospitals in Khartoum and neighboring states were out of service due to the fighting.

The federation warned that the death toll is likely to be much higher, as many of the wounded are unable to reach hospitals.

Many countries have begun making plans to evacuate thousands of foreigners, but their efforts have been stalled by the ongoing violence.

The Sudanese army said 177 Egyptian soldiers had been evacuated from the northern city of Meroe and returned to Egypt, which also confirmed their arrival. The RSF later said it had handed over 27 other Egyptian soldiers to the Sudanese Red Cross and Cairo confirmed their arrival at the Egyptian embassy in Khartoum.

The UAE said it “led” the RSF’s mediation of the Egyptians.

Al-Burhan and Daglu toppled authoritarian President Omar al-Bashir together in April 2019 after mass protests against his three-decade rule.

In October 2021, the two men worked together to turn against the civilian government installed after Bashir’s ouster, blocking an internationally backed transition to democracy.

Al-Burhan, whose career advanced under Bashir, emphasized that his coup was “necessary” to attract more factions into politics.

But Dagalo, who rose to prominence during the scorched earth policy of Bashir’s government against the Darfur rebels, called the coup a “mistake” that failed to bring about change and energized Bashir’s remnants.

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