Dozens of civilians die in Khartoum fighting over the weekend

Smoke arising from Khartoum in May (Photo: Abd Almohimen Sayed / social media)

KHARTOUM – June 26, 2023

The war between the army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) entered its 80th day yesterday with heavy fighting in Khartoum, Kordofan, and Darfur. Dozens died and hundreds of civilians were left injured in southern Khartoum over the weekend. The UN called for an end to the fighting.

Large parts of greater Khartoum saw army warplanes fly over yesterday morning, while the RSF fired anti-aircraft missiles.

Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that the RSF fired ground-based anti-aircraft in southern and western Omdurman as the planes flew over. 

In a statement yesterday, the RSF announced that it had taken control of the headquarters of the paramilitary Central Reserve Police* (CRP) in Khartoum.

Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) sources, however, said that the army continued to shell groups of RSF soldiers in the vicinity of the CPR site.

Saturday claims

On Saturday, the SAF also said that it repelled three attacks on the CPR headquarters and that carried out combing operations in Omdurman and successful airstrikes in Khartoum, Omdurman and Khartoum North (Bahri). 

That same evening, the RSF claimed that it took down two warplanes, a Sukhoi and a MiG, in Omdurman and on the highway to the north of the country.

The RSF also accused the army of shelling of the Shambat neighbourhoods in the southwestern part of Khartoum North and of conducting aerial bombardments on neighbourhoods in southern Khartoum on Saturday, leaving people dead and wounded.

Civilian casualties

The Kalakla and Southern Khartoum Emergency Room, set up by members of resistance committees and other activists in these densely populated and mostly poor neighbourhoods, indeed reported “heavy shooting and aerial bombardments directed at residential areas and vital facilities” in the area over the weekend.

“This led to more pressure on the few hospitals still operating despite the scarcity of medicines and other medical needs and the shortage of (volunteer) medical and health staff, especially the Turkish Hospital and health centres in the firing line.”

The Turkish Hospital received 217 wounded people, mostly with injuries caused by stray bullets and shells, over the weekend. 72 arrived in critical condition.

The Emergency Room further reported that the hospital received at least 14 dead bodies, including two children, and noted that more people died “immediately by the explosions” but their relatives were unable to reach the hospital so the exact number cannot be recorded.

Other parts of Sudan, especially Darfur and Kordofan, also witnessed heavy fighting over the weekend.

UN appeal

The UN Security Council again called on both sides to cease fighting and protect civilians on Saturday.

The UNSC stressed the need to increase humanitarian aid to Sudan and neighbouring countries, support humanitarian relief workers, and respect international humanitarian law.

Last week, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that “attacks on civilians in Sudan amount to crimes against humanity”. He warned that “Sudan is descending into death and destruction at an unprecedented speed” and urged donors to “step in and curb the unfolding catastrophe”.

* On March 21 last year, the USA sanctioned the Central Reserve Police (CRP), also called the Central Reserve Forces, for serious human rights abuses. The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) listed the excessively violent repression of peaceful pro-democracy protests in Sudan by the CRP forces as the main reason. The militia, infamous in Darfur for their human rights abuses during the war in Darfur, is popularly known as Abu Teira or Tira (those of the bird), as each member wears a patch on his uniform containing an image of a bird. The Arabic text reads: ‘Central Reserve – The Police in Service of the People’.