Heavy clashes broke out on Sunday between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) near Um Rawaba, North Kordofan, leading to losses on both sides and among civilians. The attacks centred on two key areas: Wad Ashana, east of Um Rawaba, and Kilometre 44, west of the town.
Conflicting reports emerged regarding who controls the area of Wad Ashana, a small town near the El Obeid-Kosti highway.
According to a military source who spoke to Radio Dabanga, the RSF launched an attack on the army garrison at Wad Ashana “precisely at 3:00 on Sunday morning, attacking from three different directions.
“An unknown number of civilians were killed,” he stated. “The RSF declared their control over the Wad Ashana garrison, which marks the army’s last site along the border with White Nile state.”
In a statement yesterday, Sudan’s Emergency Lawyers reported that wounded civilians were evacuated to Tandelti, 25 km east of Wad Ashana, across the border in White Nile state. “Tandelti Hospital received 16 injured civilians. The number of victims is constantly increasing until now, and efforts are being made to count them.”
In the aftermath of the attack, several RSF paramilitaries reportedly withdrew to Um Rawaba. They evacuated hospital wards in the town to accommodate the wounded, and occupied houses near El Moulid Square in Um Rawaba.
“Although the town is small and likely was only lightly defended, its capture demonstrates the ability of the RSF to disrupt commercial traffic and military logistics along this important route,” the Sudan War Monitor commented.
‘With the capture of the Wad Ashana garrison, the RSF has effectively cleared the path for an advance towards Kosti in White Nile state’
The RSF claimed control of the Wad Ashana garrison. They reported capturing “12 combat vehicles loaded with military equipment, including a 12-barreled Katyusha launcher vehicle, along with significant quantities of weapons and ammunition,” in a statement yesterday.
“With the capture of the Wad Ashana garrison, the RSF has effectively cleared the path for an advance towards Kosti in White Nile state,” the statement asserted.
Attack on Kilo 44
In a simultaneous attack, the RSF targeted the SAF base at Kilo 44, southwest of Um Rawaba, on Sunday morning. “Several army soldiers died in the attack, and multiple military vehicles were seized”, according to sources reporting to Radio Dabanga.
Despite these gains, the RSF reportedly suffered heavy losses during the Sunday clashes. Hospitals in Um Rawaba were closed off to prioritise the treatment of wounded RSF fighters, a resident of the town reported.
He said that they witnessed a large-scale celebration by the RSF in the town, marked by vehicle and motorcycle parades in the market area to commemorate their victory over the army at Wad Ashana.
“The RSF troops also plundered shops in the town, particularly those selling alcohol under the counter.”
Concerns arose that the SAF may respond by launching airstrikes against the RSF paramilitaries. As a precaution, the local market was closed, and residents were urged to stay in their homes.
The source disclosed that the RSF attacks “were carried out under the command of Maj Hussein Barshom and an officer called Sherya, who have already declared their intention to continue advancing towards Kosti and El Obeid”.
SAF-RSF clashes in and around Um Rawaba in the beginning of August led to the closure of the town’s market and widespread panic. The tensions prompted authorities in North Kordofan to announce a state-wide curfew on August 3.
Radio Dabanga reported on September 13 that the RSF “pulled out abruptly from Um Rawaba and dismantled their outpost on the main road”. The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), which had entered the town a day earlier, withdrew on the same day to Tandelti.