Sudan fighting: Fighting continues for a third day, with nearly 100 dead
Intense fighting has gripped Sudan for a third day and hospitals are under attack from missiles as they fight to save lives, amid a bloody power struggle that has left nearly 100 people dead and hundreds more injured.
Clashes first broke out on Saturday between the country’s military and the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF), led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, who told CNN on Sunday that the military had suspended a humanitarian ceasefire. temporarily break with the UN.
On Monday, residents in the capital Khartoum suffered the sounds of artillery and explosions by warplanes with witnesses telling CNN that they heard mortars in the early hours. Fighting escalates after today’s prayers in the direction of Khartoum International Airport and Sudan Army garrison sites.
Hospitals in the country – short of blood supplies and life-saving equipment – have been targeted by military strikes by the Army and the RSF, according to witness accounts to CNN and two doctors’ groups, leaving staff unable to Medical personnel arrive at the wounded, and bury the dead.
One doctor at a hospital in Khartoum – which CNN is not naming for security reasons – said his facility has been targeted since Saturday. “A direct strike hit the maternity ward. We could hear heavy weapons and lay on the floor, along with our patients. The hospital itself was under attack.”
CNN has contacted the Sudanese military and the RSF for comment.
Another doctor at the same al-Moallem Hospital told CNN that hospital workers stayed at the site under an explosion from the RSF for two days, before being evacuated by the Sudanese military. “We lived in a real battle,” said the doctor. “Can you believe we left the hospital and left babies in incubators and patients in intensive care without medical staff? I can’t believe I survived dying in the hospital, where the smell of death is everywhere.”
Hemedti said on Monday that his group would hunt down the head of the Sudan Armed Forces Abdel Fattah al-Burhan “and bring him to justice,” while the Sudanese army called on paramilitary fighters to disband and go along with the armed forces.
Authentic video footage shows military jets and helicopters hitting the airport; Other clips show the remains of the nearby Army General Command building after it caught fire on Sunday.
Residents in areas east of the airport told CNN they saw planes bombing sites east of the command. “We saw explosions and smoke rising from Obaid Khatim Street, and immediately after that, anti-aircraft artillery fired heavily at the planes,” said one witness.
Amidst the chaos, both parties in the fight are working to show a sense of control in the capital. The armed forces said on Monday that the Rapid Support Forces are spreading “lies to mislead the public,” reiterating that the army has “full control over all its headquarters” in the capital Khartoum .
Sudan’s national state television channel came back on air on Monday, a day after going dark, and is broadcasting messages of support for the army.
A banner on the channel said “the armed forces were able to regain control of the national broadcaster after several attempts by the militias to destroy its infrastructure.” ” Although the armed forces appear to be in control of the television signal, CNN cannot independently confirm that the military is in physical control of the Sudanese TV premises.
A banner on the channel said “the armed forces were able to regain control of the national broadcaster after several attempts by the militias to destroy its infrastructure.” ”
In the district of Kafouri, north of Khartoum, clashes and street fights broke out at dawn on Monday, forcing residents to start evacuating women and children from the area, Sudanese journalist Fathi Al-Ardi wrote on Facebook. In the Kalakla district, south of the capital, residents reported the walls of their houses shaking from explosions.
Reports also emerged of fighting hundreds of miles away in the eastern city of Port Sudan and the western Darfur region over the weekend.
On Monday, at least 97 people were killed, according to the Sudanese Doctors’ Initiative Committee trade union. Earlier on Sunday, the World Health Organization estimated that more than 1,126 had been injured.
The WHO has warned that doctors and nurses are struggling to reach people who need urgent care, and that they lack essential supplies.
“Supplies distributed by WHO to health facilities before the recent escalation of conflict are now exhausted, and many of the nine hospitals in Khartoum receiving wounded civilians are reporting a shortage of blood, transplant equipment, intravenous fluids, medical supplies, and other life savings. goods,” the group said on Sunday.
Water and power cuts are affecting the operation of health facilities, and fuel shortages for hospital generators are also being reported,” the WHO said.
In an interview with CNN, Dagalo blamed the military for starting the conflict and said the RSF “must keep fighting to protect ourselves.
He speculated that the army commander and his rival, al-Burhan, had controlled the army. When asked if his endgame was to rule Sudan, Dagalo said he had “no such ambitions” and that there should be a civilian government.
Amid the fighting, civilians were warned to stay indoors. One local resident tweeted that they were “trapped inside our own homes with little to no protection.”
“All we hear is after a continuous explosion. What exactly is happening and where we don’t know, but it feels like it’s right over our heads,” they wrote.
Access to information is also limited, with the government-owned national TV channel now off the air. Television workers told CNN that it was in the hands of the RSF.
The conflict has put countries and other organizations on high alert, with the United Nations World Food Program temporarily suspending all operations in Sudan after three workers were killed in Saturday fights.
The UN and other humanitarian facilities in Darfur have been looted, while a WFP-led plane has been heavily damaged by gunfire in Khartoum, hampering WFP’s ability to transport aid and staff towards inside the country, said the international aid group.
Qatar Airways announced on Sunday that it was temporarily suspending flights to and from Khartoum due to the closure of its airport and airstrip.
On Sunday, Dagalo told CNN that the RSF was in control of the airport, as well as several other government buildings in the capital.
Meanwhile, Mexico is working to evacuate its citizens from Sudan, with the country’s foreign minister saying on Sunday that they are looking to “accelerate” the exit.
The United States embassy in Sudan said Sunday there were no plans yet for a government-coordinated evacuation of Americans in the country, citing the closure of Khartoum airport. He advised US citizens to stay indoors and shelter in place, saying he would make a call “if US private citizens need to evacuate.” ”
The new conflicts have prompted widespread calls for peace and talks. The head of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki, is to arrive in Khartoum on Monday, in an attempt to stop the fighting.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly also called for an immediate ceasefire.
“People in Sudan want the army back in the barracks, they want democracy, they want a civilian-led government. Sudan must return to that path,” Blinken said, speaking on the sidelines of G7 foreign minister talks in Japan on Monday.
The UN political mission in Sudan has said that the two warring factions in the country have agreed to a “proposal” although it is not yet clear what it entails.
At the heart of the conflicts is a power struggle between the two military leaders, Dagalo and Burhan.
The pair had worked together to overthrow Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in 2019, and played a key role in the military coup in 2021, which ended a power-sharing agreement between the factions. military and civilian.
The military has been in charge of Sudan since then, with Burhan and Dagalo at the helm.
But recent discussions have caused cracks in the alliance between the two men. The negotiations have sought to integrate the RSF into the country’s military, as part of the effort to transition to civilian rule.
Sources in the Sudanese civil movement and Sudanese military sources told CNN the main points of contention included the timeline for the unification of forces, the future status of RSF officers in the hierarchy, and should the RSF forces be under the command of the army chief. , rather than the supreme leader of Sudan, who is currently Burhan.