Sudan: Fighting continues as warring parties ignore ceasefire agreement. Death toll nears 300


Apr 19, 2023

There was hope on Tuesday that after about four days of unimaginable gunfire, the warring sides in Sudan will temporarily ceasefire after a truce was agreed upon. When it was 6 pm (16:00 GMT), the agreed time for the ceasefire, there were gunfires and explosions in the country’s capital of Khartoum. Both sides have accused each other of violating the truce. And death toll continues to climb in what many had described as the battle of two generals. 

So far, according to the WHO,  the death toll is estimated to be about 270, with almost three thousand injured. Thousands of residents in the country’s capital now lack access to power, water, and other necessity. 

“I can see outside smoke rising from buildings. And I can hear from my residence blasts, heavy gunfire from outside. The streets are totally empty,” Germain Mwehu,  a staff of the Red Cross in Sudan, stated. 

“In the building where I stay, I saw families with children, children crying when there are airstrikes, children horrified,” Mwehu added.

Hospitals are not left out

If almost 3000 people have sustained injuries, they are most likely in hospitals receiving treatment. Unfortunately, the hospitals are no longer safe as those that have gone there for treatment could end up being finally killed, as the army and the RSF seem to be fighting a war without rules. So far, more than half the hospitals in Khartoum have been affected by the war as medical personnel no longer feel safe at their workplace. 

“Fadil Hospital was bombed with heavy weapons, which led to a hole in the central gas and main water tanks, which are designated for dialysis patients,” the Sudanese Ministry of Health said in a statement on Tuesday.

Abdalla Hussein, the Médecins Sans Frontière operational manager for Sudan, said about half of the hospitals in Khartoum have been out of work in the last three days because they fear for their safety. 

“This is because the staff weren’t feeling safe to go there or the hospitals themselves have been subject to shelling or bombing,” Hussein stated. 

Stray bullets are killing residents and students

Staying away from the battlegrounds in Sudan is not enough to remain alive as the two most powerful generals in the country battle for supremacy. Even if the soldiers do not come to visit, their bullets might find could come around and do the same damage. Like the hospitals, even schools are not left out too. 

For instance, at the University of Khartoum, a student was reportedly killed after he was hit by a stray bullet. 

“We were going to get food for the rest of the students … There were three of us, and then he was hit in the chest. We couldn’t even help him. As we were burying our colleague, one of us was hit with a bullet in his hand,” Mosaab Sharif, a law student at the school told the BBC.

The students buried their colleague inside the university campus as it was unsafe to take him outside amid the unending shootout. 

Duaa Tariq, another woman in Khartoum, also told the BBC that several people have died of “random bullets and missiles.”

“Most of the people [that] died, died in their houses with random bullets and missiles, so it’s better to avoid exposed places in the house” like windows, Duaa Tariq stated. 

The army accuses the RSF of violating the ceasefire

The question of who violated the ceasefire remains unanswered as both the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) continue to accuse each other of failing to observe the truce. The army, in a televised interview, on Wednesday, accused the paramilitary group of failing to observe the agreed ceasefire. 

Brigadier General Nabil Abdullah, the spokesperson of the military, said: “The RSF didn’t even give the ceasefire a chance to take effect.”

“Members of the RSF have assaulted civilians in Khartoum and other parts of the country, carrying out acts of looting and burning at a market in Bahri in Khartoum and elsewhere,” Abdullah continued. “After they were pushed out of Merowe Airport, they went on a rampage looting and assaulting people in the city.”

Why there is fighting in Sudan

The RSF is a paramilitary group granted official status by former President Bashir. It was led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagolo (Hemidti) and used by Bashir to crack down on opposers of his military dictatorship. Hemidti and his men would later go against Bashir in 2019. Upon the establishment of a transition government in 2021, Burhan became the country’s military leader, while Hemidti was his deputy. However, while the regular military was loyal to Burhan, the RSF was loyal and answerable to Hemidti. That means the two most powerful men in the country technically have separate armed forces that are loyal to them.

Amid ongoing plans to transition into a civilian government, the RSF was to be integrated into the regular military. But with the two generals refusing to accept a second fiddle, a fight broke out between the separate forces. The outcome of the battle would determine who becomes the next leader of Sudan. 

So far, both sides are fighting to gain control of strategic places in the country, including airports, the TV and Radio headquarters, the presidential palace and other critical government buildings. 

Already, the fight has forced several residents out of the capital to other areas, and there are fears that if the fighting continues for long, there could be a refugee crisis in the country of about 45 million people.


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