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Crime & Law

Death toll in Sudan unrest reaches 270 as violent clashes re-erupt

PUNJAB NEWS LINE | April 19, 2023 11:59 AM

KHARTOUM: The death toll due to the unrest in Sudan has increased to 270 as violent clashes re-erupted between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) after attempts at a ceasefire crumbled, just hours after the two conflicting sides had agreed on a 24-hour ceasefire, media reports said.

The clashes which first erupted on April 15 in capital Khartoum both near the army command and the presidential palace, as well close to two RSF bases to the north and west of the city, continues as of Wednesday morning with heavy gunfire, explosions and the roar of warplanes, CNN reported.

The SAF and RSF had previously agreed to a three-hour ceasefire on Sunday, and again on Monday, and the latest which was to begin at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

The World Health Organization (WHO) citing Sudan's Ministry of Health Emergency Operations Center said that besides the fatalities, more than 2,600 people were also injured in the violence.

At least half a dozen hospitals have been struck by both warring sides, according to Sudan's Doctors Trade Union.

Meanwhile, armed personnel have raided the homes of UN staff and employees of other international organisations in downtown Khartoum, according to reports in an internal UN document seen by CNN.

According to the document, the gunmen sexually assaulted women and stole belongings, including cars.

"In Khartoum armed uniformed personnel, reportedly from RSF, are entering the residences of expats, separating men and women and taking them away," it said, adding that an incident of rape was also reported.

The RSF has however, denied the allegations, telling CNN that it "will never assault any UN staff or employees. RSF is very mindful of respecting international law".

The statement went on to blame the opposing side in the fighting, led by Sudan's military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan: "That is the new desperate way of Burhan's army of fighting. They supply their people RSF uniform clothing so they can commit crimes against civilians and embassies and other groups including the UN so the image and perspective of RSF can be damaged to everyone, international and local."

On its part, the SAF also denied that their troops were involved in the violations and pointed to a previous statement regarding crimes against humanity allegedly committed by RSF forces.

The violence, which is a result of a bloody tussle for power between Burhan and Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, who is head of the RSF, has also spread to other areas in the country, including in Darfur to the west.

According to medical charity Doctors Without Borders, a lack of medical supplies, blood and electricity are threatening lifesaving treatments and 11 people have died from their injuries in North Darfur.

Various foreign leaders have called for peace, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaking separately with Burhan and Dagalo on Tuesday.

Blinken "expressed his grave concern about the death and injury of so many Sudanese civilians", and argued a ceasefire was necessary to deliver aid, reunify separated families, and ensure the safety of diplomatic and humanitarian staff, according to a readout from the US State Department.

Egypt has been "in direct communication with both parties" encouraging restraint, cessation of hostilities and a return to dialogue", Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told CNN on Tuesday.

 

 
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