Fighting in Sudan capital causes ‘humanitarian catastrophe’ in El Shajara

Still from a video of explosions near Khartoum airport, August 26 (Source: Ahmed Omer / social media)

The Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) resumed its attacks on sites of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in the three cities of Khartoum state over the weekend. People in western Khartoum are facing a humanitarian disaster. RSF as well as SAF soldiers have been killing and molesting residents of El Omda in old Omdurman.

Sources close to the army reported that after the relative calm on Thursday and Friday the Sudanese army launched several attacks on RSF positions at the Khartoum International Airport on Saturday and Sunday.

Huge flames accompanied by heavy smoke were seen north of the airport after loud explosions were heard on Saturday. The blasts were reportedly caused by the army’s shelling of fuel depots near the airport.

Sources on social media said the residence of RSF Commander Gen Mohamed ‘Hemedti’ Dagalo, north of the airport, was also hit.  

The army also shelled RSF targets in parts of Omdurman, including the area near the Shambat Bridge that links Omdurman with the southern part of Khartoum North (Khartoum Bahri), and areas near El Medina El Riyadiya in southeast Khartoum on Saturday afternoon.

Renewed fighting between the army and the RSF also erupted near the Armoured Corps in El Muhandiseen in Omdurman on Saturday. The RSF resumed its fierce attacks on the El Shajara Armoured Corps in western Khartoum on Sunday.

El Shajara and El Hamadab near the Armoured Corps in Khartoum (Image: Mapcarta)

‘Humanitarian catastrophe’

The Sudanese activists’ group Angry Without Borders and 14 resistance committees reported in a joint statement on Sunday that an unknown number of people were killed and injured in the battles for the El Shajara Armoured Corps that resumed last Sunday.

“Missiles are still, indiscriminately and continuously, hitting homes in the El Shajara and El Hamadab neighbourhoods,” the grassroots activists stated. “People injured by the shelling had to be treated within the neighbourhood as no one is able to enter or leave the area.”

El Shajara and El Hamadab, currently hosting hundreds of people who fled fighting in Jabra, El Lamab, and other nearby neighbourhoods, are witnessing now “an acute shortage of food”.

Shops closed their doors and transport to the El Shajara Market has been blocked since the war erupted in mid-April. Because of the lack of fuel and cooking gas, the fighting last week has also led to “a complete lack of bread,” the statement said.

Traders and vendors attempting to reach other markets to buy food there have been subjected to robberies and other assaults by RSF paramilitaries roaming in the streets. The militiamen accused them of being affiliated with Military Intelligence, and threatened to kill them if they would return.

The activists called the situation “a humanitarian catastrophe” and urged the opening of “safe corridors for medical staff to treat the injured and provide medicines” as soon as possible, and “for national and international organisations to be able to distribute humanitarian aid”. 

Old Omdurman

People living in El Omda in old Omdurman accuse the RSF of terrorising the neighbourhood. “They have been killing, detaining, molesting, and robbing residents as they liked last week,” the El Omda Gathering said in a statement on social media yesterday.

“The violence took place in front of the full view of SAF soldiers who that stood a few metres and minutes away from the RSF without the slightest intervention,” they stated.

“The army soldiers said they had not received instructions to protect us,” the residents said, and accused them of “practicing the same violent behaviour as the RSF in the northern part of the neighbourhood”.