Paramilitary forces attacked army headquarters over the weekend as Sudan’s civil war entered its sixth month. The fighting in the capital – Khartoum – has left the city in flames, including some of its most notable landmarks.
Sudan conflict reaches army headquarters
Fighting in Sudan began on 15 April between army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his former deputy, Rapid Support Force (RSF) commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo. Since then, nearly 7,500 people have been killed according to a conservative estimate from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project.
Civilians and aid workers have warned that the real toll is far higher. Many of those injured or killed never make it to hospitals or morgues. Witnesses in southern Khartoum said they heard “huge bangs” as the army targeted bases of the RSF paramilitary with artillery.
One resident said battles on 16-17 September between the regular army and the paramilitaries have been “the most violent since the war began”. Although her family lives at least three kilometres away from the nearest clashes, Mohammed said “doors and windows shook” with the force of explosions.
Landmarks set ablaze
Meanwhile, the fighting set fire to several major buildings in the capital. In social media posts verified by Agence France-Presse (AFP), users shared footage of flames devouring landmarks of the Khartoum skyline. The buildings hit included the Ministry of Justice and the Greater Nile Petroleum Oil Company Tower, the latter of which had become an emblem of the city.
Fittingly, a building belonging to the Ministry of Justice burned down during the attack by the Darfur janjaweed (“Rapid Support Forces”) on the Sudan Armed Forces positions in central Khartoum today.
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Both sides have flaunted national and international justice efforts. pic.twitter.com/tO4EfXpWqG
— خواجة مسكين (@daniel_van0) September 16, 2023
This morning a fire engulfed the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company Tower in Khartoum, a city where the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces have been battling for 5 months. This highrise is about 1.5 km from the nearest army troops in territory controlled by RSF. pic.twitter.com/oJuAu0Xykt
— Sudan War Monitor (@sudanwarmonitor) September 17, 2023
Other posts on X (formerly Twitter) showed Sudan’s war has left buildings smouldering, with windows blown out and walls charred or pockmarked with bullets.
A committee of volunteer pro-democracy lawyers said the fighting in Khartoum since 15 September had killed dozens of civilians in “continued disregard for international humanitarian law”. It added that it’s working to “determine the number of civilian victims” of “arbitrary shelling”.
The fighting in Sudan has decimated already fragile infrastructure and shuttered 80% of the country’s hospitals. Millions have been plunged into acute hunger.
More than five million people have been displaced, including 2.8 million who have fled the relentless air strikes, artillery fire, and street battles in Khartoum’s densely populated neighbourhoods.
Millions remain in the capital, however. Water, food and electricity are being rationed for those still in the city.
An airstrike by Sudan’s army hit a market in southern Khartoum earlier this month. It killed at least 40 civilians in the single largest incident since 15 April in terms of loss of life.
Additional reporting by Agence France-PresseSupport us and go ad-free
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