Blasts rock Khartoum as fighting enters fifth week


Air strikes pummelled Khartoum on Saturday, with representatives of Sudan’s warring factions meeting in Saudi Arabia for talks to prevent a “humanitarian catastrophe” as the fighting entered a fifth week.

A witness in west Khartoum reported army air strikes on paramilitary forces, as brutal urban warfare continued in Sudan’s densely-populated capital.

More than 750 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced since fighting erupted on April 15 between army chief Abdel Fattah al Burhan and his deputy turned rival Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

Over half a million people have fled Khartoum alone, according to the United Nations, with hospitals there shelled and rampant looting reported as residents suffer chronic shortages of food, electricity and medicine.

Representatives of both generals have been in the Saudi city of Jeddah for a week, for talks intended “to protect Sudan from any escalation that will lead to a humanitarian catastrophe”, a Saudi diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

The diplomat also said Burhan had been invited to attend the Arab League summit planned to take place in Jeddah on May 19 but it was unclear who would be representing Sudan.

“We didn’t receive the name of the delegations, but we’re really expecting Sudan will be present,” the diplomat said.

Envoys in Jeddah agreed on Thursday to “affirm our commitment to ensure that civilians are protected”.

However, the deal, dubbed the Jeddah Declaration, did not amount to a truce and the situation on the ground appeared unchanged.

In the capital’s twin city of Omdurman, “houses are shaking from the force of explosions”, a witness told AFP on Saturday, reporting armed clashes.

Thursday’s deal commits both sides to let in badly needed humanitarian assistance and also calls for the restoration of water, electricity and other basic services.–AFP