Sudan’s civilians caught in crossfire in conflict among rival generals

Digital Originals

After four days of fighting, Sudan’s rival generals agreed to a 24-hour ceasefire, though the truce was quickly disrupted by gunfire. For civilians caught in the crossfire, life has been a constant state of danger in a conflict they have no stake in.

Intense fighting broke out between Sudan’s military leader and his deputy four days ago. Hundreds have been killed, and thousands wounded. They had agreed to a 24-hour ceasefire starting the evening of April 18, but it never materialized.

The UN has called the situation a “humanitarian catastrophe”.

Heavy weaponry has been used in densely populated areas, and hospitals have been caught in the crossfire.

Experts warn of a near collapse of Sudan’s healthcare system. Twelve hospitals in the capital Khartoum had to shut down due to damage from fighting or lack of medical supplies.

“The truth is that, at the moment, it is almost impossible to provide any humanitarian services in and around Khartoum. There are calls from various organizations and people trapped asking for evacuation. For the past four days, people have been out of water [and] food. Electricity has been rationed – in some places totally disconnected,” said Farid Aiywar, Sudan Delegation Head, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to AFP.

Aid workers have been targeted and there have been reports of sexual violence against them, according to the UN.

Three World Food Program workers have been killed and a UN plane was hit in the crossfire.

Civilians trapped in Khartoum say the events have been harrowing.

“I consider this to be the toughest Ramadan in Sudan. No one can buy their daily needs. Military clashes continue during the night, the fighting parties cannot figure out if you are a civilian or a militant,” Mahmoud Alameen, a Sudanese Activist and Humanitarian Worker who fled Khartoum told Reuters.

Another Khartoum resident named Mai told Reuters: “It’s a great struggle, no water, no electricity. There’s panic and fear. We haven’t slept for four days, the children are terrified, but thank God.”

“You cannot even compare (with previous unrest) because there was no enemy back then. It’s the first time that two military forces are in conflict inside the cities. What I’m telling you about is not something only I experienced but all the cities in Sudan,” said Najmadeen Ahmed Abdalla Omer, Former Security Advisor in an interview with Reuters.

The death toll is expected to be much higher than current reports.

Residents have also reported seeing bodies on the streets and people unable to recover them due to the fighting.

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