Sudan war: shelling in Omdurman kills 20, two dead in Nyala

Part of old Omdurman and El Sawrat (Google maps)

Fierce fighting in Omdurman, sister city of Khartoum, claimed at least 20 lives yesterday. The army reported an extensive combing operation across Omdurman, while the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) alleged successful defence against army attacks. Clashes between the two warring parties in Nyala, South Darfur, left two dead.

At least 20 people lost their lives in what witnesses described as “the fiercest battle of its kind” in Omdurman on Tuesday. The fighting was accompanied by relentless air and artillery bombardments across significant parts of old Omdurman.

The neighbourhoods of Abrof and Beit El Mal were particularly affected, members of resistance committees in the old quarters of Omdurman reported.

A volunteer reported on social media that by Tuesday afternoon, the El Nau Hospital in El Sawra 8 had received 13 bodies.

The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the RSF released conflicting data on the fighting.

Yesterday, the SAF issued a statement detailing an extensive combing operation that “covered the old Omdurman neighbourhoods, Shuhada, the Omdurman Grand Market, El Hilal Stadium, the Wad El Bashir Bridge, and Khor Abu Anja”.

The army claimed that the RSF suffered significant losses and “incurred hundreds of casualties, injuries, and detentions, including that of Cpt Salah Hamdan who was captured while attempting to flee the battlefield”. The army reported four casualties and several injuries among its ranks.

According to a press release by the RSF, the paramilitary forces “successfully repelled numerous army attacks across various regions in Omdurman, resulting in 174 fatalities, 300 injuries, and 83 captives”. The army targeted RSF positions by infiltrating the El Sawrat neighbourhoods, Wad Nubawi, Es Soug El Sha’abi, and El Mohandesin.

Brig Ibrahim El Houri, former editor-in-chief of the SAF newspaper, reported on his Facebook page that the army’s Special Task Forces “attacked El Mohandesin, inflicting heavy losses on the RSF and killing more than 40 paramilitaries”.

’Crucial link’

Local observers reported that warplanes bombed RSF targets in Beit El Mal, El Radmiya Street, and Wad El Bashir Bridge on Tuesday morning. Intense clashes persisted in central Omdurman, while warplanes were seen flying over Sheikan Street between Shaglaban and Mahdawi in El Sawrat and heading towards Karari, in the north of Omdurman. Simultaneously, heavy shelling took place in Shambat El Ared in the southwest of Khartoum North.

A military analyst, who preferred to be unnamed, conveyed to Radio Dabanga that the army’s offensive in  old Omdurman aims to seal off roads leading to the Shambat Bridge, “a crucial link between Khartoum North (Khartoum Bahri) and Omdurman, which serves as the main supply route for the RSF.”

On Monday, both the army and the RSF ordered residents of old Omdurman to evacuate their homes.

Battlefield positions

The Sudanese army started its offensive on RSF sites in old Omdurman over the weekend. Five people were killed in Wad Nubawi on Saturday. At least two people were killed in Abrof during heavy shelling on Monday.

Several emergency rooms and resistance committees across the different neighbourhoods of Omdurman announced that several schools have been opened to shelter residents forced to evacuate their homes in Abrof, Beit El Mal, and other old Omdurman neighbourhoods.

On Tuesday, the RSF accused the army of occupying El Nau Hospital in Omdurman, converting it into a military barrack and a field hospital for treating their wounded, numbering over 300. The paramilitary group alleged that medical staff were compelled to evacuate all civilian patients.

The RSF further decried the army’s heavy artillery shelling of neighbourhoods in old Omdurman, “causing the loss of innocent lives and widespread destruction of residential homes”.

In terms of strategic control, the RSF holds the Soba Bridge, connecting Khartoum and Sharg El Nil in Khartoum North, as well as the El Manshiya Bridge, connecting Khartoum with El Jereif East in Khartoum North.

The SAF controls the Blue Nile Bridge, the Kober Bridge, and the Mek Nimr Bridge between Khartoum and Khartoum North, the White Nile Bridge and El Fitihab Bridge, connecting Khartoum with Omdurman. The northern Halfaya Bridge, linking Omdurman with Khartoum North, was partially taken over by the army following intense fighting.

More than a month ago, Gen Yasir El Ata proclaimed that military operations in Omdurman “would soon quell the RSF rebellion”.

Urgently needed

The Sudanese Doctors Union yesterday confirmed that the neighbourhoods of the old city of Omdurman and Karari were “subjected to fierce shelling using a variety of heavy weaponry, resulting in numerous casualties”.

The doctors said that the El Nau Hospital, the only one still operating in the area, in an urgent need for surgeons, blood donations, oxygen cylinders, and intravenous supplies.

The Karari Emergency Room called for gravediggers in the vicinity of the Sirha cemetery in Omdurman, for at least 30 graves.

Fighting in Nyala

Two people were killed, and four others sustained injuries in Nyala, capital of South Darfur, following clashes between the army and the RSF on Monday.

A resident of the city reported on Tuesday that “a cautious calm” returned to Nyala after a day marked by violent clashes. “The only positive development is that internet services and mobile network providers Sudani and MTN were restored, ending a months-long hiatus,” he said.

The South Darfur capital witnessed recurrent clashes between the army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in the past weeks Markets in Nyala were suspended because of the violence, leading to a surge in commodity prices.