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Fresh violence grips Sudan's capital as army calls for volunteer fighters

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file photo shows black smoke rising over the Sudanese capital city of Khartoum amid an ongoing deadly conflict between the country's army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

Explosions have once again rocked Sudan's capital city of Khartoum as the army renewed its call on civilians to join its ranks and fight against the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

The blasts rang out across Khartoum on Monday, as artillery fire was heard in the city's northwest progressing towards its center and east. Eyewitnesses said the fighting began at 4:00 am local time (0200 GMT) and is ongoing. 

The new wave of hostilities erupted as the army announced one more time that it is ready to "receive and prepare" volunteer fighters following a last week call by its chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, on the Sudanese "youth and all those able to defend" to join the military.

The new call came after on Sunday clashes resumed between the two sides, which have been fighting since April 15 over a power struggle between Burhan and his former deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who heads the RSF.

Later on Monday, witnesses said the air force targeted an armored RSF convoy as it wound its way from the country's south towards Khartoum.

Close to 3,000 people have so far died and 2.2 million others been rendered homeless, while another 645,000 have fled across borders, mostly to Chad and Egypt.

Apart from Khartoum, the conflict has also caused turmoil in other parts of Sudan, particularly in North Kordofan and Darfur regions, where the RSF has been accused of intentionally targeting the civilians.

The United Nations has estimated that more than half of Sudan's population is in need of aid. The figure includes more than 13 million children, who, according to the UN children's agency, UNICEF, are in "dire need" of humanitarian assistance.

In addition to food and water, people are "also in need of protection," the UN's deputy special representative for Sudan, Clementine Nkweta-Salami, said on Sunday.

She also appealed to both warring factions to allow for supplies and personnel to enter the country and move freely.

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