Civilians cower as shelling pounds South Darfur capital

Sudanese refugees gather with their belongings in preparation for being transported to Gaga camp, 130 km from the Sudan-Chad border. (File photo: Insa Wawa Diatta / UNHCR)

Civilians in the South Darfur capital of Nyala are cowering under the eighth consecutive day of relentless shelling by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), with retaliatory fire by the Sudan Armed Forces (RSF). The shelling has left ‘countless dead and wounded’, with no respite in sight, after the RSF reportedly moved significant reinforcements to the area. The USA has renewed calls on both parties to end the bloodshed. “There is no acceptable military solution to this conflict.”

A resident of Nyala told Radio Dabanga yesterday that the shelling was concentrated in the neighbourhoods of El Wadi, Karari, and Teksas. They reported that RSF reinforcements in at least 20 Land Cruisers have moved into the area from East Darfur.

Shells fired by both sides fell in residential neighbourhoods, leaving countless dead and wounded. A doctor at El Wehda hospital, south of Nyala, says that on Wednesday, four people from the neighbourhood are known to have died, however those were only the ones who reached the hospital. The doctor told Dabanga that 40 people were admitted to the hospital with traumatic wounds, half of them children. He confirmed six cases involved gunshot wounds.

A resident of Nyala disclosed to Dabanga this week that the RSF mobilised their forces in the Grand Market on Tuesday, subsequently closing it off to merchants and locals. “The artillery exchange between the army and the RSF led to several casualties whose exact toll is still under assessment”, the resident added.

‘Central Nyala is like a ghost town as many people have fled to safer areas’ – resident

The repeated fighting in Nyala has displaced a significant number of people, particularly from the Karari and Teksas neighbourhoods. A resident said that “central Nyala is like a ghost town as many people have fled to safer areas”.

According to preliminary data from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), nearly 4,000 households were displaced in Nyala since fighting reignited in the South Darfur capital on August 11.

‘Civilians should not pay the ultimate price for the warring parties’ unconscionable actions…’ – US State Dept

The US State Dept has called on the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) “to cease renewed fighting in Nyala, South Darfur, and other populated areas, which have caused death and destruction”.

A statement from Washington on Wednesday by US State Dept spokesperson Matthew Miller, says: “We are particularly alarmed by reports of indiscriminate shelling carried out by both the RSF and SAF that have caused civilian casualties.

“Civilians should not pay the ultimate price for the warring parties’ unconscionable actions. Both sides must comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law, including those regarding the protection of civilians.

Every day this senseless conflict continues, more innocent civilians are killed, wounded, and left without homes, food, or livelihoods. The parties must end the bloodshed. There is no acceptable military solution to this conflict.