Residents report clashes in Khartoum before the US-Saudi-brokered truce expires and in Omdurman minutes after it ends.
After a three-day ceasefire expired, fierce battles erupted between Sudan’s military and a rival paramilitary force.
The truce, brokered by the US and Saudi Arabia, expired on Wednesday at 6 a.m. (04:00 GMT). The ceasefire brought relative calm to Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, but fierce fighting was reported in parts of the city on Tuesday night.
Clashes, according to residents, were centered on the intelligence agency’s headquarters near Khartoum International Airport.
“The battles have become more intense. “There were gunshots heard throughout the area,” said Khalid Abdel-Rahman, who lives in Khartoum’s city center.
Sudan descended into chaos in mid-April after months of simmering tensions erupted into open combat between rival generals vying for control of the country. The military, led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, is at odds with the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary militia led by Mohamed “Hemedti” Hamdan Dagalo.
On Tuesday night, a fire engulfed the intelligence service’s headquarters in Khartoum, as each side accused the other of attacking it.
A source in al-Burhan’s army claimed that the RSF shelled the structure. An RSF source claimed that a “army drone bombed the building where RSF fighters were gathered, sparking a fire and partially destroying the intelligence headquarters.”
The resumption of fighting signaled that US and Saudi efforts to extend the ceasefire had failed. Both Washington and Riyadh have been mediating between the warring factions to stop the clashes. The conflict has been centered largely in the capital and western Sudan’s Darfur. Residents of the city just across the Nile from the capital reported heavy artillery exchanges within minutes of the ceasefire’s expiration. Army warplanes flew low over several adjacent districts.
According to the US Department of State, the capital of West Darfur state alone has seen up to 1,100 fatalities.
In el-Geneina, where months of unrest have left many businesses empty or looted, bodies are still lying in the streets.
According to the UN migration agency, the fighting in Sudan has resulted in thousands of deaths and forced more than 2.5 million people to leave their homes in search of safety in other parts of the country or in neighboring countries.
More than half of Sudan’s population, or about 25 million people, is in need of assistance and protection, according to the UN.
Antonio Guterres, the head of the UN, recently issued a dire warning: “The scale and speed of Sudan’s descent into death and destruction is unprecedented.”