Fighting between forces loyal to rival generals continued in Sudan on Wednesday for a fifth day after an internationally brokered truce quickly collapsed. The United Nations said the death toll had risen to at least 270 since the clashes began over the weekend.
The continued shootingthe artillery and air strikes They shook the capital, Khartoum, and the city of Omdurman, on the other bank of the Nile River. Residents reported clashes around the military barracks and near the international airport..
“The battles have intensified in the morning after sporadic shootings overnight,” said Tahani Abass, a prominent rights activist who lives near the military headquarters.
The 24-hour ceasefire was to be in effect between Tuesday nightfall and Wednesday evening, and two sides publicly pledged to abide by it. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with both generals. Their failure to pause fighting for at least a day, despite high-level diplomatic pressure, suggests they are both seeking a military victory and raises the possibility of a longer conflict.
Sudanese in the capital and other cities have been hiding in their homes, caught in the crossfire as rival forces pounded residential areas with artillery and airstrikes and engaged in street gunfire.
The director general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Ghebreyesus, said that at least 270 people have lost their lives and more than 2,600 have been injured since the clashes began on Saturday, but he did not offer concrete data on the number of civilians and combatants killed. The Sudan Doctors Union, which monitors the death toll, said on Tuesday that at least 174 civilians had been killed and hundreds more injured.
But it is believed that the figure is much higher since the fighting has prevented reaching the corpses that are still lying in the streets. Dozens of health centers close to the fighting in Khartoum and other troubled areas across the country have stopped working, either because they were damaged or had to be evacuated for security reasons.
The conflict between the armed forces, led by General Abdel Fattah Burhan, and a militant group known as the Rapid Support Forces, under the command of General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, has once again derailed the democratic transition after decades of dictatorship and civil war. .
Pro-democracy groups and political parties had recently reached an agreement with the two generals, who in 2021 led a coup together, but it was never signed.
Each side already has tens of thousands of fighters spread across the Khartoum and Omdurman districts. Terrified residents were hoping for a lull long enough to buy supplies or flee to safety. The fighting broke out unexpectedly at the start of the last week of Islam’s holy month, Ramadan.
This is the latest chapter in the chaos that has gripped the country since the popular revolt that helped oust autocrat Omar al-Bashir four years ago.
(with information from AP)
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