Displacement in Sudan’s Sennar grows due to rumours about RSF advances

Directions of displacement from Singa to the south and east (Map: RD)

Singa, the capital of Sennar, witnessed a decrease in fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) since Sunday evening. Because of communication outages, rumours are spreading about RSF advances further into Sennar, causing even more displacement. Reportedly, several people drowned while crossing the Blue Nile on foot.

Eyewitnesses reported that the RSF succeeded on Sunday in seizing the bases of the 165th Artillery Brigade, as well as the 67th Infantry Brigade, which is affiliated with the 17th Infantry Division, headquartered in Ed Damazin, capital of Blue Nile region*.

The 67th Infantry Brigade site, located in the south of Singa, was the last stronghold the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) maintained after the RSF occupied large parts of Singa on Saturday.

The RSF said in a statement on X on Sunday that “Our brave forces recorded a new victory today, Sunday, by liberating the 67th Infantry Brigade and the 165th Artillery Brigade, affiliated with the 17th Singa Division. Thus, the Rapid Support Forces extended their complete control over the region and are advancing towards new objectives.

“The successive victories of the brave Rapid Support Forces on all fronts, including the liberation of the 17th Singa Division, will open the door wide to liberate what remains of the homeland from the clutches of the terrorist Islamic movement and its battalions and leaders in the armed forces who ignited this war and caused all the tragedies that our people are suffering.”

So far, the SAF did only mention the battle of Singa in short statements on social media (while proudly announcing their retaking of the Ed Doha neighbourhood in Omdurman).

The army spokesperson said on Sunday morning that the SAF in Singa is clinging to its strongholds and fighting with high morale. The Sennar chief of staff praised the forces of the 17th Infantry Division for “their steadfastness and bravery in the face of attempts by the RSF to attack the peaceful city of Singa”.

Residents confirmed the withdrawal of SAF troops from the Wad El Eis Bridge in Singa.

Exodus continues

People living in Singa, Sennar, and neighbouring areas, as well as tens of thousands of people (including displaced from Khartoum) who fled Wad Madani, the capital of El Gezira, when the RSF seized most of the state in December last year, continued to leave their homes in search for safer places – while the RSF called on them not to leave and pledged to protect them.

Especially after the army reopened the Dinder Bridge, buses, cars, cars, and motorbikes lined up along a two-kilometre stretch to cross the bridge to the eastern bank of the Blue Nile.

The IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix reported on Sunday that more than 55,000 people fled Singa since the fighting broke out.

The vast majority, about 50,000 people, left towards El Gedaref, about 180 kilometres from Singa, via El Hawata, located 80 kilometres northeast of Singa and  to El Dinder. Approximated 5,000 people chose to head towards Ed Damazin, 163 kilometres away, and neighbouring El Roseires.

Large numbers of people living near Jebel Moya already left their homes on June 25, after the RSF had taken control of the area.


Several people from Sennar state drowned while crossing the Blue Nile on foot, a volunteer reported from El Gedaref.

Those who managed to reach the city are in poor humanitarian conditions, the source said. “It is impossible to find good news these days .. The displaced arriving from Sennar show misery and tragedy on their faces. They came on lorries, pick-up trucks, tuktuks, and other means of transportation, and did not have anything to drink or eat during the journey.”

He said that large numbers of displaced people from Singa are now sleeping on the ground near the Shaabi Market in El Gedaref town. “The humanitarian organisations present here cannot help them all because their numbers are too large for their capabilities.”


The Sennar People’s Association confirmed on its Facebook page yesterday that a large number of the town’s residents left after the army opened the Sennar Bridge. They further noted continued water and power outages and the cessation of the health facilities in Sennar.

The resistance committees of Mayerno reported a complete power outage and the interruption of the MTN and Sudani communications networks in the area.

The Sudanese Missing Persons Initiative announced yesterday morning that it received reports about 15 missing persons, including an infant girl, from Singa so far.

Lawyer Osman El Basri, member of the Sudanese Group for Victims of Enforced Disappearance and the Where Did They Take You? campaign, told Radio Dabanga that most of the reported cases were children, “who may not have been abducted, but went missing in the chaos of thousands of panicking people”.

Conflicting reports and rumours

There were conflicting reports yesterday about the RSF advance into Sennar and the occupation of Ed Dinder.

The RSF announced on X that it had taken control of Ed Dinder town before withdrawing the message. Later, people reported from Ed Dinder that the paramilitaries did not control the town and displaced people were arriving from Singa and Sennar.

Ed Dinder, about 134 kilometres southeast of Singa, is an important strategic location. If the RSF seize the area, it will be able to cut off the alternative route, along the Blue Nile, for supplying the 4th Infantry Division in Ed Damazin.

RSF Commander Mek Abu Shotal’s recent statement that Ed Damazin is a target for the militia and his demanding local leaders to withdraw the army troops from the Blue Nile region’s capital “to spare the city the dangers of war” has poured more oil on the fire of the people’s fears that there is no longer a safe area for them south of Sennar.

El Dinder can only be reached by unpaved roads, which hampers traffic during the rainy season.

In the early hours of Monday, people in Sennar heard that the RSF were gathering in large groups south of Hantoub in preparation for a reinforced siege on Sennar town. Radio Dabanga contacted sources in the area who replied that this information was incorrect. On the contrary, the army opened the bridges crossing the Blue Nile in Sennar and Singa to allow the people to cross.

The rumours, however, caused many more people to flee, towards El Gedaref and further north, to Kassala.

Security procedures

As the displaced people began to flow into El Gedaref and Blue Nile region, the authorities in the two states rushed to extend the curfew hours to 12 hours, from 18:00 to 6:00.

The acting governor of Ed Damazin, Lt Gen Ahmed El Omda, banned the use of motorcycles, exempting medics and members of the police, security, and army.

Communication and electricity services continue to be cut off in El Gedaref and Blue Nile region for long periods during the day, preventing the displaced from communicating with their families and with each other to report their location.

The authorities in the two states have been widely criticised for not providing any services related to shelter, food and health services to the new displaced. The arrival of these new waves of displaced people to El Gedaref coincided with the authorities’ decision to evacuate schools used as shelters in order to start the new schoolyear.

The Ed Damazin Resistance Committees on their Facebook page complained of a significant increase in the prices of goods with the arrival of the displaced people from Singa.

* In August 2022, Gen Ahmed El Omda, governor of the then Blue Nile state, issued a number of decrees, based on the October 2020 Juba Peace Agreement (JPA), by which the state became a region, and the seven Blue Nile localities Ed Damazin, El Roseires, Wad El Mahi, Bau, Geisan, El Tadamon, and Kurmuk became ‘governorates’. International IDEA stated in an analysis last year that though the Blue Nile and [South and West] Kordofan protocol incorporated in the JPA, grants autonomy to these areas, it does not specifically provide that they become a region.