AFRICA/SUDAN - More fighting in Khartoum and Darfur: number of civilian deaths increases

Tuesday, 27 June 2023 wars   displaced persons  

Khartoum (Agenzia Fides) - On Sunday 25 June fierce fighting broke out again in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum. Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militiamen have attacked and captured the headquarters of the Central Reserve Police (CRP), a police force allied with the Sudanese armed forces. Both the Central Reserve Police and the Rapid Support Forces are special forces originally created to quell the insurgency in Darfur. When the conflict between the regular army and the SAF erupted, the CRP initially remained neutral, but in recent weeks it has aligned itself with the regular military units. Despite this union between the army and the paramilitary police (which consists of around 80,000 men and is also equipped with heavy weapons), the RSF militiamen, accustomed to irregular fighting even in an urban environment, do not seem to give up and are against the the military led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane, so after two days of fighting they managed to capture the headquarters of the CRP and take possession of the arsenal. The renewed fighting has also aggravated the death toll; according to hospital sources, at least 15 civilians have died in the past few hours. More fighting is being reported from Darfur, particularly from Nyala, the capital of south Darfur, where at least 12 civilians were also killed on Sunday. Finally, a wing of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), which had not joined the 2020 peace accord, led by Abdelaziz al-Hilu, took advantage of the clashes between the various Sudanese military and paramilitary forces to attack army positions in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. In Blue Nile, violent clashes broke out in Kurmuk on the border with Ethiopia. The United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) expressed "extreme concern" at this latest development, reporting that fighting in three villages in the Kurmuk region has forced hundreds of civilians to seek refuge in Ethiopia. According to the International Organization for Migration, around 600,000 Sudanese have fled to neighboring countries so far, while there are around two million internally displaced people in the country. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 27/6/2023)