Violence renewed on Saturday between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group in the capital Khartoum, according to witnesses.
Sounds of artillery shelling and fighting with heavy and light weapons were reported in the cities of Omdurman and Bahri, west and north of Khartoum. Jet fighters were also seen flying over the Sudanese capital. Billows of smoke were seen rising from several areas in the city.
Military sources said army forces repelled an RSF attack on its headquarters south of Khartoum. According to the sources, casualties were reported among RSF fighters.
The United Nations called for immediate action to stop “wanton killings” of people fleeing El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur state, by Arab militias aided by paramilitary forces.
The deadliest violence has raged in Darfur, a vast western region on the border with Chad where the United Nations has warned the conflict has taken an “ethnic dimension.”
The Geneva-based UN rights office said people who escaped to Chad had given “horrifying accounts of armed ‘Arab’ militia backed by the Rapid Support Forces killing people fleeing El Geneina on foot.”
It said witnesses had given “corroborating accounts” of Arab militia targeting men from the non-Arab Masalit people.
“All those interviewed also spoke of seeing dead bodies scattered along the road — and the stench of decomposition,” it said. “Several people spoke of seeing dozens of bodies in an area referred to as Shukri” about 10 kilometres (six miles) from Sudan’s border with Chad.
The UN rights office said that all but two of the 16 people it interviewed testified that they had witnessed “summary executions” and the targeting of civilians on the road from El Geneina to the border between June 15 and 16.
The renewed violence in Khartoum and the ongoing killing spree in Darfur are a grave concern for the people of Sudan and the international community. The United Nations has called for immediate action to stop the violence, and it is imperative that the Sudanese government take steps to protect its citizens.
General Mohamed Hamdan Dagolo, better known as Hemedti, is the leader of the RSF. He is a key mover in the fast-escalating civil war, as he has been in other key moments in Sudan’s recent history. Hemedti’s Rapid Support Forces is led by Darfurian Arabs known as Janjaweed.