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Sudanese activists say airstrike in Khartoum kills 20 civilians

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)
Smoke rises from burning aircraft inside Khartoum Airport during clashes between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and the army in Khartoum, Sudan April 17, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

Tensions have escalated in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, with local sources reporting an airstrike in the city’s southern region that claimed the lives of at least 20 civilians including two children.

“The death toll from the aerial bombardment in southern Khartoum has risen to 20 civilians,” the neighborhood’s resistance committee said in a statement on Sunday.

In an earlier statement, it also noted that additional fatalities may have gone unreported due to the severe injuries sustained during the bombing, making it impossible to move some victims to hospitals.

The neighborhood's resistance committee is among several volunteer organizations initially dedicated to organizing pro-democracy demonstrations, but now provides assistance to families caught in the crossfire between the military and paramilitary factions in Sudan.

The airstrike was part of the ongoing war between the Sudanese regular army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) that started in mid-April after tensions heightened over a power struggle between army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his former deputy General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who now commands the RSF.

Burhan accused the RSF of aiming “to take the country back to an era before the modern state” and “committing every crime that can be imagined.” In the meantime, the RSF has accused the army of trying to seize full power under the direction of loyalists of Omar al-Bashir, the former ruler who was toppled during a popular uprising in 2019.

The United Nations said about 3.5 million people have been displaced as a result of the surge in violence, and another million have fled to neighboring countries. Also last month, the UN warned that millions of people across Sudan are running out of food and are on the brink of famine as the situation in the war-torn Northeast African country is spiraling out of control.

The violence is estimated to have killed at least 4,000 people, according to UN figures. Activists and doctors on the ground, however, say the death toll is likely far higher.

Earlier this week, “Save the Children International” - a worldwide non-profit organization that aims to improve the living of children – said in a statement that at least 498 children in Sudan and likely hundreds more have died from hunger, including two dozen babies in a state orphanage.

The international community, including the UN, the Arab League as well as many countries in the world has already urged the country's two military leaders and their allies to stop the aggression and resolve their issues through dialog for the sake of the suffering Sudanese nation. Several ceasefire talks mediated by the US and Saudi Arabia have also failed to stop the violence.

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