Fighting in Khartoum, civilians say they are forgotten
Heavy gunfire echoed around Khartoum again on Friday as civilians trapped in the Sudanese capital said the army and rival paramilitary forces were fighting on and ignoring their plight.
Othman Hassan, 48, from the southern outskirts of Khartoum said, “It’s been four days without electricity and our situation is difficult.
“ We are the victims of a war that we aren’t a part of. No one cares about the citizens.’’
In spite of multiple ceasefire declarations, the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) appeared to be battling each other for control of territory in the capital ahead of proposed talks.
So far, the leaders of both factions have shown little public willingness to negotiate after more than two weeks of fighting.
Intense gunfire also rang out in Khartoum’s adjoining city of Bahri as planes flew overhead, a witness told Reuters.
The sudden collapse into warfare has killed hundreds, triggered a humanitarian disaster, sent an exodus of refugees to neighbouring states and risks dragging in outside powers, further destabilising an already restive region.
Across swathes of Khartoum, factories, banks and shops have been looted or damaged, power and water supplies have been failing and residents have reported steep price rises and shortages of basic goods.
Whole neighbourhoods have emptied out, leading people to fear for the houses they left behind.
Aya Eltahir said she fled with her family to the northern outskirts of the capital after bullets hit their roof.
“I make plans to return every day, even just to grab more essential items, but the situation is too unsafe,” she said.
The Sudanese Doctors Union said one of the country’s main maternity hospitals, Aldayat in the adjoining city of Omdurman, had been looted and occupied by forces on Thursday.
According to the union, 17 hospitals had been damaged by fighting and 20 forcibly evacuated since the start of the violence.
Sixty of the 88 hospitals in Khartoum are out of service with many of the rest only offering partial service.
Human Rights Watch Sudan researcher Mohamed Osman said in a report,“ Sudan’s warring armies are showing reckless disregard for civilian lives by using inaccurate weapons in populated urban areas.’’
The fighting stems from tensions between two rival factions, the army and RSF, which had shared power after a coup in 2021.
They have accused each other of breaching a string of truces.
The conflict has derailed an internationally-backed plan to usher in democracy and civilian rule after a 2019 popular uprising that unseated Islamist strongman Omar al-Bashir.
Earlier, the UN pressed the warring sides to guarantee safe passage of aid after six trucks were looted.
U.N. aid chief, Martin Griffiths, said he hoped to have face-to-face meetings with both sides to secure guarantees from them for aid convoys.
The U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) estimated that 13 million dollars to 14 million dollars’ worth of food destined to people in need in Sudan had been plundered so far and about 100,000 people have fled Sudan with little food or water, to neighbouring countries.