Artillery bombardment in Khartoum and the Sudanese army brings reinforcements to the capital
The echoes of artillery bombardment echoed in Khartoum this morning (Friday), as fighting intensified following the collapse of the truce between the “Quick Support” forces and the Sudanese army, which brought reinforcements to the capital.
Witnesses to the French Press Agency reported hearing “the sounds of artillery shelling in the vicinity of the radio and television building” in the suburb of Omdurman.
Khartoum and other areas in Sudan have been witnessing violent battles since April 15 between the army led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the “rapid support” forces led by Muhammad Hamdan Dagalo, known as “Hemedti”.
The battles claimed the lives of more than 1,800 people, according to the Armed Conflict Project website and event data, while the United Nations reported that more than 1.2 million people were internally displaced, and more than half a million people sought refuge abroad.
The two sides reached more than one truce agreement, the latest of which was during talks in the city of Jeddah, mediated by Saudi Arabia and the United States.
But the truce quickly collapsed every time, and clashes renewed, especially in Khartoum and the Darfur region in the west of the country.
In what appeared to be a prelude to a possible further escalation in violence, the army announced, on Friday, that it had brought in reinforcements to participate in “operations in the central Khartoum area.”
Sudanese analyst Kholoud Khair of the Confluence Advisory Center, based in Khartoum, indicated that the army intends to launch a large-scale offensive soon (against the “support forces”), and that is why it withdrew from the negotiations in Jeddah.
On Wednesday, the army announced the suspension of its participation in the weeks-long talks, accusing the “support forces” of not fulfilling their obligations to respect the armistice and withdrawing from hospitals and residents’ homes.
And after holding the two parties to the conflict responsible for the collapse of the armistice and the talks in Jeddah, Washington announced on Thursday the imposition of sanctions on companies and restrictions on entry visas for officials linked to the two parties to the conflict.
The economic sanctions target many companies in the industrial, defense and armament sectors, including the “Sudan Master Technology” company that supports the army.
As for the support forces, Washington imposed sanctions on the Al-Junaid Mining Company, which operates several gold mines in the Darfur region, and provides funding for the forces.
Analysts question the feasibility of US sanctions against the two parties that are holding the joints of circumventing them, as happened under international sanctions during the era of former President Omar Al-Bashir, who ruled the country for three decades.
gains before negotiation
The White House National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, said Thursday that the “bloodbath” in Khartoum and Darfur is “horrific”.
Sullivan noted that the recent breach of the truce “has heightened our fears of a protracted conflict and great suffering for the Sudanese people.”
Since the start of the violence, neither side has achieved tangible field progress at the expense of the other, or a breach in the balance of power.
Analyst Kholoud Khair said that the army wants to achieve “some military gains before committing to any future talks with the aim of improving its position” at the negotiating table.
Shortly after announcing the suspension of its participation in the Jeddah talks, the army bombed with heavy artillery, on Wednesday, the locations of the “rapid support” forces in southern Khartoum.
The bombing targeted a popular market, killing 18 civilians, according to what the “emergency lawyers” reported on Wednesday.
The Jeddah talks aimed at providing safe passages that allow civilians to leave combat zones and deliver humanitarian aid.
However, relief work faces many difficulties, including the absence of safe passages, customs obstruction of aid arriving by air, and the refusal to grant entry visas to foreign workers to compensate for the shortage of locals who were forced to flee or take shelter in their homes.
Looting and theft continue, especially of the headquarters and warehouses of international organizations.
On Thursday, the Executive Director of the World Food Program condemned “the looting of the assets and food of the World Food Program that is taking place now in El-Obeid (Northern Kordofan),” adding via “Twitter”: “Our warehouses have been attacked, and food for 4.4 million people is at risk.”
According to the United Nations, Sudan, which was one of the most suffering countries in the world even before the conflict, is now facing a “catastrophic” situation, in light of the fact that three-quarters of hospitals are out of service, while 25 million people (more than half of the population) need humanitarian aid.
The international organization confirmed that it had obtained only 13 percent of the $2.6 billion it needed.
On Friday, the United Nations is scheduled to discuss the fate of its mission to Sudan, whose mission officially ends on Saturday.
Al-Burhan had asked the Secretary-General of the United Nations to replace Volker Peretz, the head of the mission, the majority of whose members left the country shortly after the outbreak of the conflict.
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