Anarchy and riots engulfes Sudan Capital

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KHARTUM(REUTERS) — Heavy explosions and gunfire rocked Sudan’s capital, Khartoum and its twin city of Omdurman early Friday, residents said, despite the extension of a fragile truce between the county’s two top generals whose power struggle has killed hundreds.

After two weeks of fighting that has turned the capital into a war zone and thrown Sudan into turmoil, a wide-ranging group of international mediators — including African and Arab nations, the U.N. and the United States — were intensifying their pressure on the rival generals to enter talks on resolving the crisis.

So far, however, they have managed to achieve only a series of fragile temporary cease-fires that failed to stop clashes but created enough of a lull for tens of thousands of Sudanese to flee to safer areas and for foreign nations to evacuate thousands of their citizens by land, air and sea.

In a sign of the persistent chaos, Turkey said one of its evacuation planes was hit by gunfire outside Khartoum with no casualties on Friday, hours after both sides accepted a 72-hour truce extension, apparently to allow foreign governments complete the evacuation of their citizens.

Fierce clashes with frequent explosions and gunfire continued Friday in Khartoum’s upscale neighborhood of Kafouri, where the military earlier used warplanes to bomb its rivals, the Rapid Support Forces, residents said. Clashes were also reported near military headquarters, the Republic Palace and Khartoum International Airport. All of these areas have become hotspots since war broke out between the army and his RSF on April 15th.

There were also signs that the paramilitaries were struggling to treat the wounded. A doctor in the capital said the RSF were desperately kidnapping health workers.

The doctor forwarded a voice memo shared in his chat group to Sudanese health workers, telling them not to wear a medical uniform or distribute his ID with his occupation if suspended. Dr. Nada Fadul, a Sudanese-American infectious disease physician at the University of Nebraska who works with health leaders in Sudan, has documented five cases of doctors being kidnapped from the streets of Khartoum by the RSF since the fighting began.

At least 512 people, including civilians and combatants, have been killed and another 4,200 injured since April 15, according to the Sudan Health Ministry. Doctors tracking civilian casualties recorded at least 387 civilians dead and 1,928 wounded.

The health system is on the brink of collapse, with dozens of hospitals out of order. Several aid organizations have had to suspend operations and evacuate their employees.

French forces evacuated dozens of UN staff and other international aid agencies from the town of al-Fashher in the Darfur region of western Sudan to the Chadian capital of N’Djamena on Thursday night, according to UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric. The evacuation came a day after gunmen rampaged through the city, fighting each other, killing dozens and looting shops and homes. UN Special Envoy Volker Perthes stayed in Sudan with a small team.