Death toll from Sudan clashes rises to 56 - GulfToday

Death toll from Sudan clashes rises to 56


People run past a military vehicle in Khartoum, Sudan. AFP

Gulf Today Report

Fighting in the Sudanese capital raged into the early hours of Sunday after a day of deadly battles between paramilitaries and the regular army that left at least 56 people dead and nearly 600 wounded.

The clashes capped months of heightened tensions between the military and its partner-turned-rival, the Rapid Support Forces group. Those tensions had delayed a deal with political parties to get the country back to its short-lived transition to democracy, which was derailed by an October 2021 military coup.


UAE airlines cancel flights to Sudan as the country battles civil unrest

Fighting rocks Sudan capital as regular army battles paramilitaries

Explosions and gunfire rang out on the deserted streets of Khartoum, according to witnesses, after the paramilitaries said they were in control of the presidential place, Khartoum airport and other vital facilities.

The army denied the claims, and in a statement late Saturday, the Sudanese air force urged people to stay indoors as it continued air strikes against bases of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

The fighting comes after months of escalating tensions between the commander of Sudan's miltitary, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, and the head of the RSF, Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo. It also followed years of political unrest since the 2021 coup.

Sudan's Army chief Abdel Fattah Al Burhan speaks in Khartoum. File/AFP

Chaotic scenes unfolded in the capital of Khartoum, where fighters firing from truck-mounted machine guns battled in densely populated neighborhoods. "Fire and explosions are everywhere,” said Amal Mohamed, a doctor in a public hospital in Omdurman. "We haven’t seen such battles in Khartoum before,” said resident Abdel-Hamid Mustafa.

By the end of the day, the military issued a statement ruling out out negotiations with the RSF, instead calling for the dismantling of what it called a "rebellious militia.” The head of the paramilitary group, in turn, branded the armed forces chief a "criminal.” The tough language signaled that the conflict between the former allies, who jointly orchestrated the 2021 coup, was likely to continue.

Fighter jets were earlier seen flying overhead.

Sudan's paramilitary Rapid Support Forces commander, General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo attends a meeting. AFP

Windows rattled and apartment buildings shook in many parts of Khartoum during the clashes, according to AFP correspondents, with explosions heard early Sunday.

"The total number of deaths among civilians reached 56," said the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors, an independent pro-democracy group of medics, adding there were "tens of deaths" among security forces but they were not included in the new toll early Sunday.

The committee said it had counted around 600 wounded including some among security forces and that many casualties could not be transferred to hospitals due to difficulties in moving during the clashes.

Heavy smoke billows above buildings in the vicinity of Khartoum's airport on Saturday. AFP

Saudi Arabia's flag carrier Saudia said earlier one of its planes, with passengers and crew aboard waiting for departure, was "exposed to gunfire damage".

Bakry, 24, who works in marketing, said Khartoum residents had "never seen anything like" this unrest, which left dark smoke hanging over the capital.

"People were terrified and running back home. The streets emptied very quickly", said Bakry, who gave only a first name.

Former Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who was ousted in the 2021 coup, warned of a possible regional conflict if the fighting escalates. "Shooting must stop immediately,” he said in a video appeal to both sides posted on his Twitter account.



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