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Sudan violence rages as paramilitaries deny Darfur war crimes

Smoke rises over the city as army and paramilitaries clash in power struggle, in Khartoum, Sudan, April 15, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

Sudan’s capital Khartoum and its western Darfur region witnessed another day of violent clashes on Sunday, as the army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) continued their fight for control of the country.

Witnesses said the army fighter jets bombed Rapid Support Forces’ bases in the east and northwest of Khartoum, while the RSF fired back with anti-aircraft weapons. They also said RSF drones targeted the city’s largest military hospital, similar to the attack on the same facility on Saturday which left five dead and 22 injured.  

A local neighborhood group said at least five people were killed and 17 others injured in a blast in Ombada, in Khartoum's northwest, but the toll was likely to increase as more casualties are pulled from the rubble.

Separately in Darfur, a region that has suffered some of the worst violence, witnesses said there were intense clashes with different kinds of weapons in the town of Kas, where paramilitaries broke into and looted houses, claiming victory in the town.  

Darfur, home to around a quarter of Sudan’s 48 million people, has seen entire towns razed to the ground. Last week, Human Rights Watch accused the Paramilitary Rapid Forces and allied Arab militia of executing at least 28 ethnic Massalit in a single day in May and the total destruction of the town of Misterei in West Darfur.

On Saturday, the RSF issued a statement denying the findings of the Human Rights Watch report. It blamed the violence on “longstanding tribal conflict, saying it “strictly adheres” to international humanitarian law.  

Diplomatic efforts to end the violence continue but have failed to bear fruit and numerous ceasefires have been broken.

As the war entered its fourth month on Saturday, an army delegation returned to the Saudi city of Jeddah to resume truce talks. This came as the Saudi-US brokered talks were adjourned last month after several truces were systematically violated.

Separately, Egypt launched an attempt to mediate between warring factions on Thursday at a regional summit to prevent a prolonged civil war and the deepening of a humanitarian crisis.

On April 15, a power struggle between army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his former deputy, RSF commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, burst into all-out war in mid-April, claiming at least 3,000 lives and displacing more than three million people, among them almost 700,000 who have fled to neighboring countries, especially Chad and Egypt.

The United Nations, the Arab League and many countries in the world have already urged the opposing sides to show restraint and engage in dialog to end the hostilities.

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