Sanaa Hassan, a resident of Omdurman’s al-Salha neighborhood, described the harrowing experience: “We faced heavy artillery fire early this morning, the whole house was shaking. It was terrifying, everyone was lying under their beds. What’s happening is a nightmare.”
While Khartoum remained relatively calm, intermittent gunshots could still be heard. Since the conflict erupted on April 15, it has internally displaced nearly 1.1 million people and forced others to seek refuge in neighboring countries. The World Health Organization reports a death toll of 705 individuals, with at least 5,287 wounded.
The clash between Sudan’s army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has resulted in a breakdown of law and order, leading to looting incidents for which both sides blame each other. Essential supplies such as food, cash, and other necessities are rapidly dwindling.
Efforts to negotiate a resolution, sponsored by the United States and Saudi Arabia in Jeddah, have proven unsuccessful, with both sides accusing each other of violating multiple ceasefire agreements.
The RSF has entrenched itself in residential areas, attracting incessant aerial attacks from the regular armed forces. Recent days have seen renewed ground fighting in the Darfur region, specifically in the cities of Nyala and Zalenjei.
Late on Friday, both sides released statements blaming each other for sparking the fighting in Nyala, one of Sudan’s largest cities, which had enjoyed relative calm following a locally brokered truce. Saturday morning witnessed sporadic gun clashes near the city’s main market, close to army headquarters, resulting in the deaths of approximately 30 people over the previous two days, according to activists.
The conflict in Khartoum originated from disputes over the integration of the RSF into the army and the chain of command under an internationally supported agreement aimed at transitioning Sudan toward democracy after years of authoritarian rule by former leader Omar al-Bashir.
In response to the dire situation, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced the allocation of over $100 million for Sudan and countries hosting Sudanese refugees. The funding will primarily be used for essential food and medical aid, addressing the urgent needs of the affected population. Samantha Power, head of the agency, expressed the difficulty in conveying the extent of the suffering occurring in Sudan.
Meanwhile, Qatar strongly condemned the vandalism of its embassy in Khartoum by “irregular armed forces,” highlighting that its diplomats and consular staff had already been evacuated. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs called for the prosecution of the perpetrators in a statement released on Saturday.