The conflict in Sudan has reached a critical juncture as the Paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) announced the seizure of the headquarters of a heavily armed police unit in the capital Khartoum.
In a statement released by RSF on Sunday, it declared full control over the camp belonging to the Central Reserve police in southern Khartoum, loaded with stacks of ammunition.
The RSF posted footage of its fighters inside the facility, removing boxes of ammunition from a warehouse. However, the authenticity of the footage and the RSF claim remains unverified as of now. The army and police have yet to comment on the situation.
The Central Reserve Police, deployed by the army for ground combat, has faced allegations of excessive force against protesters demonstrating against a coup in 2021. It was sanctioned last year by the United States for using excessive force against protesters.
Since late on Saturday, the fighting has surged in Sudan’s greatest capital area, compromising Khartoum, Bahri and Omdurman. Witnesses also reported a sharp increase in violence in recent days in Nyala, the largest city in the western Darfur region.
The UN on Saturday raised the alarm over reports of “wanton killings” by “Arab” militia in Sudan’s West Darfur supported by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
“The High Commissioner for Human Rights calls on the RSF leadership to immediately, unequivocally condemn and stop the killing of people fleeing El-Geneina, and other violence and hate speech against them on the basis of their ethnicity,” UN human rights office (OHCHR) spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said.
Sudan has been the scene of intense fighting between the country's army and the rival paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) since mid-April over a power struggle between the army chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and his former deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who heads the RSF.
Fighting has intensified since a series of ceasefire deals agreed at talks led by the United States and Saudi Arabia in Jeddah failed to stick. Both sides had accused the other of using the ceasefire to redeploy military forces so as to spearhead attacks once the deal expired.
The crisis has, meanwhile, displaced nearly 2 million people, and almost 600,000 of whom have fled to the neighboring countries, including Chad and Egypt.
In Sudan alone, the United Nations says a record 25 million people, which is more than half of Sudan's population, are in dire need of humanitarian aid and protection.