Fierce fighting broke out again Monday between Sudan’s army and paramilitaries despite the formal extension of a truce, after the United Nations warned the humanitarian situation reached “breaking point”. More than 500 people have been killed since battles erupted on April 15 between Sudan’s de facto leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who leads the regular army, and his ex-deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.
Millions of Sudanese around the capital have since hidden in their homes with dwindling food, water, and electricity as warplanes on bombing raids have drawn heavy fire from anti-aircraft guns. “Warplanes are flying over southern Khartoum and anti-aircraft guns are firing at it,” said one resident, while another witness told AFP he was also hearing “loud gunfire” in the area.
Burhan and Daglo have agreed multiple, poorly observed ceasefires, and extended the latest formal truce on Sunday by 72 hours, with each side repeatedly blaming the other for the frequent violations. Millions of Sudanese are trapped in the country, where aid workers are among the dead, humanitarian facilities have been looted, and foreign aid groups have been forced to essentially halt all aid operations.
Top UN humanitarian official Martin Griffiths said Sunday he was heading to the region to help “bring immediate relief to the millions of people whose lives have turned upside down overnight”. “The humanitarian situation is reaching breaking point,” he said. “Goods essential for people’s survival are becoming scarce in the hardest-hit urban centres, especially Khartoum.”