Thousands Flee As War Ravages Sudan’s Second-Largest City

Thousands of displaced people have escaped the formerly safe city of Wad Madani in Sudan, as the war between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) moved into the city.

Paramilitary forces established a base in the east of Sudan’s second-largest city and the capital of al-Jazirah state, forcing thousands of already displaced people to escape.

Africa Today News, New York reports that the RSF attack has opened a new front in the eight-month-old war, in what had previously been ‘one of Sudan’s few remaining sanctuaries’, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) Sudan director William Carter.

Crowds of people – many of whom had taken refuge in the city from violence in the capital Khartoum – were seen packing up belongings and leaving on foot in videos posted on social media.

‘The war has followed us to Madani so I am looking for a bus so me and my family can flee,’ 45-year-old Ahmed Salih told the Reuters news agency by phone.

Read Also: Sudan Conflict: Panic As RSF Takes Control Of Nyala In Darfur

‘We are living in hell and there is no one to help us,’ he said, adding that he planned to head south to Sennar.

Sudan’s army, which has held the city since the start of the conflict, launched air strikes on RSF forces as it tried to push back the assault that started on Friday, witnesses told Reuters.

The RSF responded with artillery and RSF reinforcements were seen moving in the direction of the fighting, the witnesses added.

RSF soldiers have also been seen in villages to the north and west of the city in recent days and weeks, residents said.

Sudan spiralled into war after soaring tensions between army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and RSF commander General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo exploded into open fighting in mid-April.

The war broke out due to disagreements over plans for a political transition and the integration of the RSF into the army, four years after former ruler Omar al-Bashir was deposed in an uprising.

Africa Today News, New York reports that than 12,000 people have been killed, according to a conservative estimate by the Armed Conflict and Event Data Project, while the United Nations says nearly 6.8 million have been forced to flee their homes.

The UN on Sunday said 14,000 people have fled Wad Madani so far, and a few thousand had already reached other cities. Half a million people had sought refuge in al-Jazirah, mainly from Khartoum.

Wad Madani alone houses more than 86,000 displaced people, according to the UN, which has suspended all humanitarian field missions in al-Jazirah state.

More than 270,000 of the city’s 700,000 residents had been dependent on humanitarian aid, the UN said.

Africa Today News, New York

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *