In Sudan, fighting that started on 15 April is continuing, precipitating the country in chaos. Diplomats and foreign nationals are being evacuated, reports the BBC, in an ever-growing list of countries worrying for the wellbeing of their nationals in Sudan. Alongside the US, UK, Italy, France, Germany and the Netherlands, even Turkey – a key influencer in the region – has initiated the evacuations, which continue to be hindered by ongoing fighting.
Violent clashes persist in various parts of the country between the forces of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of the Sudan Armed Forces, and those of Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, ‘Hemetti’, head of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces. Sudan’s conflict threw off an internationally supported plan for a transition to a civilian democracy, four years after the fall of the Islamist despot Omar al-Bashir and two years after a joint military coup. The power struggle has stalled plans for a transition to civilian rule after decades of autocracy and military rule in Sudan, a strategic area between Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and the sensitive Sahel region. If left unchecked, the violence risks also involving neighbouring countries.
According to the United Nations, observers are already counting dozens of casualties and hundreds of wounded, while the fighting is triggering a humanitarian catastrophe, putting a strain on the country’s health system.
The latest update from OCHA, the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs, reports that humanitarian activities have been interrupted in many places due to the worsening situation and widespread insecurity. Fighting is currently reported in several parts of the country and in the capital, Khartoum. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has stated that it is almost impossible to provide humanitarian services in the capital. From Twitter, MSF says that in North Darfur, the hospital supported by MSF is the only functioning one in the region; until Saturday, it did not have a surgery department, but the medical staff had to adapt to help more than 200 injured people who have arrived so far. The World Food Programme (WFP) announced the temporary suspension of operations across the country following the killing of three of its staff members involved in a clash in North Darfur.
Update from the capital (OCHA data)
In Khartoum, fighting continued with the use of light and heavy weapons, while the Sudanese Air Force attacked several targets inside the city. On 17 April, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned that several hospitals in Khartoum have run out of blood supplies, transfusion equipment and other essential medical supplies. Nine hospitals in Khartoum and two in Bahri (North Khartoum) have been closed due to bombing and insecurity.
An overview from Sudan’s regions
In South Darfur, the situation is also very tense: shootings have been reported in various parts of Nyala and, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), residents in neighbourhoods near the military headquarters of the Sudanese Armed Forces in the city have been warned to evacuate. Many humanitarian premises and government offices in Nyala were looted by armed men. In addition, looting was reported at universities, private businesses, markets and health facilities. Humanitarian activities were also suspended here due to widespread insecurity. According to the Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS), in the town of Nyala eight people were killed and 12 injured.
In West Darfur, clashes between Sudanese Armed Forces and paramilitaries were also reported in the town of Ag Geneina. In the town of Habila, about 500 people were displaced following intimidation and looting of livestock by armed men. In the locality of Beida, the local market was partially looted and civilians from different parts of the locality were reported to have fled to Chad.
In North Darfur, sporadic gunfire continued to be heard in the town of Al Fasher. Gunmen looted humanitarian premises in the town of Al Fasher and some offices were damaged by shelling. According to unconfirmed reports, up to 50 people may have been killed in the town of Kebkabiya and at least 15 in the displaced camp of Abu Shouk.
In central Darfur, clashes are still reported in the town of Zalingei and several humanitarian and government premises have been looted. Ten people were reported killed and 3,500 families were displaced from areas near the military base to other parts of the city. In Blue Nile, the situation is calm but unpredictable and aid workers have cancelled field missions outside the town of Ed Damazine.
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