Yesterday, Thursday, areas south of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, witnessed intense air strikes, coinciding with the outbreak of violent clashes with heavy weapons between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces.
While the World Food Program is intensifying its operations in at least 6 Sudanese states, the United Nations envoy for humanitarian affairs, Martin Griffiths, denounced what he described as the numerous and serious violations of the agreement reached by the parties to the conflict in Sudan last week regarding sparing civilians and infrastructure battles and allowing aid to enter.
Witnesses said they heard air strikes on the RSF in several residential neighborhoods in southern Khartoum, including near Camp Taiba, while a police reserve force was fighting the RSF on the ground. It was also possible to hear the sound of strikes on the other bank of the Nile, in the eastern Nile region.
The army relies mainly on air power and heavy artillery in an attempt to expel the Rapid Support Forces that have deployed in areas of Khartoum and the cities of Khartoum North and Omdurman, which are separated by the Nile River from the capital, after fighting broke out on April 15 between the army led by the head of the Transitional Sovereignty Council, Abdel Fattah. Al-Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces, led by the deputy head of the council, Muhammad Hamdan Dagalo (Hemedti).
According to witnesses, the clashes extended to a distance of 1,000 kilometers west of Khartoum in Nyala, one of the largest Sudanese cities and the capital of South Darfur state. A witness said that the sound of heavy artillery fire, including from tanks, was heard for the first time since the local truce was declared.
And local sources reported to Al-Jazeera that 3 people were killed in the Al-Imtidad neighborhood in Nyala, western Sudan, as a result of the battles between the army and the Rapid Support Forces. Sudanese accounts on Facebook published videos showing a fire breaking out in a house in the city as a result of a shell.
Witnesses also said that armed gangs began carrying out robberies in El Obeid, another major city and commercial center in North Kordofan state.
For its part, the Sudan Doctors Committee announced that the death toll from the clashes had risen to 833, and the injured to more than 3,300.
According to the latest estimates, more than 840,000 people have been displaced within Sudan and more than 220,000 have fled to neighboring countries.
The United Nations World Food Program said it was ramping up its operations in at least six states in Sudan to help 4.9 million people at risk, as well as those fleeing to Chad, Egypt and South Sudan.
The United Nations estimated the number of people in need of humanitarian aid in Sudan at about 25 million people, and estimated the volume of emergency aid necessary for the country and those fleeing the war to neighboring countries – whose number is expected to exceed one million this year – at about $3 billion.
Meanwhile, the UN envoy for humanitarian affairs, Martin Griffiths, denounced what he described as the numerous and serious violations of the agreement reached by the warring parties in Sudan last week regarding sparing civilians and infrastructure from battles and allowing the entry of necessary aid there.
Griffiths, who leads international relief efforts in Sudan, welcomed the May 12 declaration that was signed in the Saudi city of Jeddah by the two parties to the conflict, and included a pledge to refrain from attacking humanitarian workers.
Griffiths said in an interview with Agence France-Presse that with the arrival of aid, “there are violations of the declaration, and they are terrible violations and have been happening since the signing” of the declaration.
On Wednesday, the humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders reported that its warehouses in Khartoum had been attacked the previous day, and Griffiths cited an attack on the same day on the offices of the World Food Program in the Sudanese capital, among “many” examples.
Hopes for a ceasefire remain dim after several truces were violated in the past weeks. While discussions continue in Jeddah to reach a cease-fire amid great secrecy, Griffiths made it clear that the negotiations on the last declaration that was signed were separate.
The focus of those discussions was on ensuring the flow of aid even if the fighting continued, and helping to put an end to the attacks and looting that have depleted food stocks and put most of Khartoum’s health facilities out of service.
On the other hand, in the Saudi city of Jeddah, which is hosting an Arab summit today, Friday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Saudi Faisal bin Farhan discussed with the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States Ahmed Aboul Gheit the issue of the conflict in Sudan, and expressed their support for the cease-fire, but without Suggest any outlines for him.
On the other hand, the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that it had sent a strongly worded protest note to the government of South Sudan because of its reception of what it described as the advisor to the rebel leader of the Rapid Support militia, and a press conference was held in the presence of senior officials of the government of South Sudan.
The Sudanese Foreign Ministry added, in a statement, that it expressed, during the memorandum, its protest and astonishment at the behavior of the Government of South Sudan.