Sudan war: vital lifeline returns to North Kordofan capital

RSF in Wad Kebeish, north of El Giteina town, White Nile state (File photo: RSF)

Community leaders of El Obeid, capital of North Kordofan, earlier this week reached an agreement with commanders of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in the area to reopen the road linking El Obeid with Tandalti in White Nile state. The North Kordofan capital, besieged by the RSF since the war began in April last year, is witnessing relative calm these days. The city is facing severe drinking water and power outages.

The reopening of the El Obeid-Tandalti road for traffic has been widely welcomed by the residents of the North Kordofan capitals and surroundings, a source told Radio Dabanga from the city yesterday. “Lorries supplying us with the necessary commodities can now reach the city again.”

The prices of many commodities fell after the reopening of this vital road, as the price of a 50kg sack of sugar dropped from SDG125,000 to SDG 110,000, a kilogramme of flour from SDG40,000 to SDG25,000 and a jerrycan (four litres) of petrol from SDG50,000 to SDG45,000.

The source, who prefers to remain anonymous, complained about the fees imposed by the RSF on each delivery lorry, ranging from SDG500,000 to SDG1,000,000, “which ultimately raises the overall cost of goods in the city”.

The RSF still controls all five entrances to El Obeid, including Mount Kordofan, where violent battles took place ten days ago when the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) attacked RSF positions in the area, reportedly to secure a better field position in preparation for the battle for El Fasher, capital of North Darfur.

The source noted how RSF troops easily manoeuvre in these areas and pursue everyone in the villages who carries weapons, classifying them as remnants of the former regime of dictator Omar Al Bashir.


El Obeid is still facing severe drinking water and power outages.

“The power supply to the city has been cut off since the outbreak of the battles in Mount Kordofan ten days ago, and there does not seem to be any hope of its return soon,” the source said.

“A fire broke out at the Um Rawaba station due to SAF airstrikes and needs repair. I also heard that engineering teams have been informed about a malfunctioning transmission line in the Mount Kordofan area.

The drinking water crisis, which was already prevalent before the war between the SAF and the paramilitary RSF erupted more than 13 months ago, has worsened. “We now pay SDG3,000 and sometimes even SDG4,000 a barrel of drinking water. The levies imposed by the RSF on traffic to El Obeid and in most parts of North Kordofan, increase the suffering of the people. “The only safe zone in the south of North Kordofan, about six square kilometres, is Sheikan, which is under control of the SAF. The rest of the state is controlled by the RSF.”