Sudan clashes intensify with no mediation in sight

Clashes between Sudan’s army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) intensified on Sunday, as the war in the country’s capital and western regions entered its 12th week with no attempts in sight to bring a peaceful end to the conflict.

Air and artillery strikes as well as small arms fire could be heard, particularly in the city of Omdurman, as well as in the capital Khartoum, as the conflict deepens a humanitarian crisis and threatens to draw in other regional interests.

The RSF said it brought down an army warplane and a drone in Bahri, in statements to which the army did not immediately respond.

“We’re terrified, every day the strikes are getting worse,” 25-year-old Nahid Salah, living in northern Omdurman, said by phone to Reuters.

The RSF has dominated the capital on the ground and has been accused of looting and occupying houses, while the army has focused on air and artillery strikes.

Army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan last week called on young men to join the fight against the RSF and on Sunday the army posted photos it said were of new recruits.

The Sudanese Doctors Union accused the RSF on Saturday of raiding the Shuhada hospital, one of the few still operating in the country, and killing a staff member. The RSF denied the accusation.

The war has also hit cities in the western Kordofan and Darfur regions, in particular the westernmost city of El Geneina, where the RSF and Arab militias have been accused of ethnic cleansing.

The Combating Violence Against Women Unit, a government agency, said on Saturday it had recorded 88 cases of sexual assault, which it said was a fraction of the likely real total, in Khartoum, El Geneina, and Nyala, capital of South Darfur, with victims in most cases accusing the RSF.

Talks hosted in Jeddah and sponsored by the United States and Saudi Arabia were suspended last month, while a mediation attempt by East African countries was criticised by the army as it accused Kenya of bias.

Last week, army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy on the country’s Sovereign Council Malik Agar expressed openness to any mediation attempts by Turkey or Russia, though no official efforts have been announced.

Source: Reuters