Fighting in Sudan: Airstrike kills at least 22 – News Block


An airstrike on a Sudanese city on Saturday killed at least 22 people, health authorities said, in one of the deadliest airstrikes so far in three months of fighting between the country’s rival generals.

The assault took place in the Dar es Salaam neighborhood in Omdurman, the neighboring city of the capital, Khartoum, according to a brief statement from the Ministry of Health. The attack injured an unspecified number of people, he said.

The ministry released video footage showing bodies on the ground covered with sheets and people trying to dig the dead out of the rubble. Others tried to help the wounded. You could hear people crying.

The attack was one of the deadliest in fighting in urban areas of the capital and elsewhere in Sudan. The conflict pits the military against a powerful paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces. Last month an airstrike killed at least 17 people, including 5 children in Khartoum.

RSF blamed the military for Saturday’s attack and other attacks on residential areas in Omdurman, where fighting has broken out between the warring factions, according to residents. The army has reportedly tried to cut a crucial supply line to the paramilitary force there.

An armed forces spokesman was not immediately available for comment on Saturday.

Two Omdurman residents said it was difficult to determine which side was responsible for the attack. They said that military planes have repeatedly attacked RSF troops in the area and that the paramilitary force has used drones and anti-aircraft weapons against the military.

At the time of the attack early Saturday, the military was attacking the RSF, which seized people’s houses as shields, and the RSF fired anti-aircraft shells at the attacking fighter jets, said Abdel-Rahman, one of the residents who he asked to use only his first name out of concern for his safety.

“The area is like hell… fighting all day and people can’t get out,” he said.

The conflict erupted in mid-April, culminating months of escalating tensions between the army, led by General Abdel Fattah Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces, commanded by General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo. The fighting came 18 months after the two generals led a military coup in October 2021 that toppled a Western-backed civilian transitional government.

Health Minister Haitham Mohammed Ibrahim said in televised remarks last month that the clashes have killed more than 3,000 people and injured more than 6,000. More than 2.9 million people have fled their homes to safer areas inside Sudan or have crossed into neighboring countries, according to UN figures.

“It is a place of great terror,” Martin Griffiths, the United Nations humanitarian chief, said of Sudan on Friday. He condemned “the heinous crimes” taking place across the country and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people.

The conflict has plunged the African country into chaos, turning Khartoum and other urban areas into battlefields. Members of the paramilitary force have occupied people’s homes and other civilian property since the start of the conflict, according to residents and activists. There were also reports of widespread destruction and looting in Khartoum and Omdurman.

Sexual violence, including the rape of women and girls, has been reported in Khartoum and the western region of Darfur, which have seen some of the worst fighting in the conflict. Nearly all reported cases of sexual assault were attributed to RSF, which has not responded to repeated requests for comment.

On Wednesday, senior UN officials, including Volker Turk, the UN high commissioner for human rights, called for a “prompt, thorough, impartial and independent investigation” into increasing reports of sexual violence against women and girls.

Sudan’s Unit to Combat Violence Against Women, a government organization that tracks sexual attacks against women, said it had documented 88 cases of rape related to the ongoing conflict, including 42 in Khartoum and 46 in Darfur.

However, the unit said the figure likely represented just 2% of the number of cases in the truce, meaning there have been 4,400 possible cases of sexual violence since the clashes began on April 15, according to the charity Save the Children.

“Sexual violence continues to be used as a tool to terrorize women and children in Sudan,” said Arif Noor, director of Save the Children in Sudan. “Children as young as 12 are being targeted because of their gender, because of their ethnicity, because of their vulnerability.”

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