In Sudan, fighting between General Burhane’s Sudanese army and General Daglo’s rapid support forces resumed on Wednesday after a 72-hour ceasefire expired.
Shortly after the expiry of a largely respected 72-hour ceasefire in Khartoum, fighting resumed in Sudan on Wednesday 21 June between the army and paramilitaries vying for power.
Residents of the capital were awakened by artillery fire and the noise of fighting minutes after the ceasefire ended, AFP witnesses said. Omdurman, the city’s northern suburb, was the target of “artillery fire” and “fighting”, while “fighter jets” flew over other nearby areas, they added.
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A military source told AFP on Wednesday that the army had “launched an attack on the positions” of the paramilitaries there and inflicted “heavy casualties”.
The fight between the army, under the command of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane, and paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo, has thrown Sudan into chaos. Testimony of combatants’ occupation of homes, looting and other abuses is increasing.
On Wednesday, the Foreign Ministry accused the “FSR militias” of attacking and looting the Pakistani embassy and the Algerian ambassador’s residence in Khartoum.
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On Tuesday night, a huge fire broke out at the intelligence headquarters in the capital, with both sides blaming each other for causing it by bombing the building.
Since April 15, according to the NGO Acled, the war has claimed more than 2,000 human lives and more than 2.5 million displaced persons and refugees, according to the UN.
Desertification of agricultural land
The international community on Monday pledged $1.5 billion in aid, half of the needs presented by humanitarian agencies. According to the UN, 25 of the 48 million Sudanese cannot survive without humanitarian aid.
“The conflict has prevented many farmers from planting when the rainy season comes,” Islamic Relief warned on Wednesday.
The summer farming season begins with the first rains at the end of May, but this year farmers have left their land due to fighting. “The impact will be catastrophic on the next harvest and millions of people will face starvation,” the NGO warned.
On Wednesday, “explosions, heavy gunfire and shells” hit residential areas in Dilling, South Kordofan, 500 kilometers south of Khartoum, residents said.
Darfur, a large region in western Sudan bordering Chad, is experiencing the deadliest violence. In El-Geneina, the capital of West Darfur state, 1,100 people were killed, according to the UN. The streets are strewn with corpses, hastily covered with clothes, under the burning sun.
Flight to Chad
On Tuesday, General Daglo denounced “a tribal conflict” in El-Geneina, claiming to have ordered his men “not to intervene” and accusing the army of “inciting rebellion by distributing arms” to civilians.
With few belongings under their arms, the inhabitants fled in long columns towards Chad under crossfire from the belligerents, but also from tribal warriors and armed civilians. More than 150,000 people have fled to Chad, according to the UN.
In total, nearly 600,000 people have sought refuge in neighboring countries, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced on Tuesday, while more than two million Sudanese have been displaced within their own country, according to the UN High Commission for Refugees.
In Darfur, home to African ethnic groups as well as Arab tribes, “the conflict now has an ethnic dimension,” the UN, African Union and East African bloc Igad warned.
“Massive attacks against civilians, based on their ethnic origin, allegedly committed by Arab militias and armed men in RSF uniforms are very disturbing and, if true, could amount to crimes against humanity,” warned the head of the UN mission in Sudan, Volker Perthes.
Already in the 2000s, a civil war had bloodied Darfur, where Arab Janjawid militiamen, which later gave birth to the FSR, had carried out the scorched earth policy ordered by the then dictator, Omar el-Bashir, against ethnic minority rebels.