Rival Sudanese forces clash in Khartoum after talks break down


Sudan’s warring parties clashed in the capital overnight and into Friday morning after talks aimed at maintaining a ceasefire and alleviating a humanitarian crisis collapsed, prompting the US to issue sanctions.

Residents of Khartoum and adjoining Omdurman said the army had resumed air strikes and was using more artillery as the clashes continued, but with no sign that its paramilitary enemy was retreating from city streets and homes it has occupied.

“We are suffering so much from this war. Since this morning there have been sounds of violence. We’re living in terror. It is a real nightmare,” said Shehab al-Din Abdalrahman (31), in a southern district of the capital.

Seven weeks of warfare between the army and Rapid Support Forces have smashed up parts of central Khartoum, threatened to destabilise the wider region, displaced 1.2 million people inside Sudan and sent another 400,000 into neighbouring states.

On Thursday 27 people were killed and 106 injured after a market in a poor area south of Khartoum was shelled, according to local residents. Six tank shells were fired from al-Shajara, one of the few areas the army controls in the Sudanese capital, towards the neighbourhood of Mayo, residents said.

Sources said the death toll could rise significantly because many of the injured were unable to get to hospitals for treatment.

The US and Saudi Arabia on Thursday suspended truce talks after a ceasefire they had mediated fell apart, accusing the sides of occupying homes, businesses and hospitals, carrying out air strikes and attacks and executing banned military movements.

Washington imposed sanctions on businesses belonging to the army and RSF and threatened further action “if the parties continue to destroy their country”, according to a senior US official.

Sudan's ambassador to Washington, Mohamed Abdallah Idris, said the government and army remained fully committed to the truce pact and any penalties should be "imposed on the party that did not abide by what it signed" - a reference to the RSF.

The two sides have blamed each other for truce violations.

Since the overthrow of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir in 2019 Sudan’s government has been headed by a sovereign council under army chief General Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan with the RSF head Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, as his deputy.

After they went to war on April 15th, Gen Burhan said he had dismissed Hemdti from the council, and government departments have remained aligned with the army.

Outside Khartoum, the worst fighting has been in the Darfur region, where a civil war has simmered since 2003, killing about 300,000 people.

More than 100,000 people have fled militia attacks in West Darfur to neighbouring Chad since the latest fighting began, and the numbers could double in the next three months, the UN. refugee agency said on Thursday.

Truce efforts had been aimed at delivering humanitarian aid to civilians caught in a war that has brought deadly shellfire and shooting, disabled power and water networks, ruined hospitals and hampered food supplies in an already hungry nation.

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