Sudan Army, Rapid Support Forces Exchange Gunfire across River Nile

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 Eight months into a conflict that human rights organisations claim has been riddled with crimes, witnesses reported that on Monday, November 27, the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF), and paramilitary forces exchanged gunfire across the Nile River in Khartoum.

According to a witness, “the army in Omdurman, on the west bank, and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Khartoum North, on the east bank,” were separated by a river that was bridged by armaments and rocket fire.

Residents, especially local activists, have confirmed the conflict, claiming that shelling in residential dwellings has killed a large number of people in recent weeks.

As the two groups struggle for dominance and refuse to surrender the territories, the negotiations mediated by the United States and Saudi Arabia, which began on May 6, 2023, and failed to make any headway, resumed this month.

An RSF spokesman said on Monday that paramilitary “forces attacked the Wadi Seidna (air) base, a vital facility north of Khartoum, adding that they had destroyed “a C130 military transport plane and an ammunition depot.”

Further, the paramilitary force claimed control of the East Darfur state capital of El Daein last week, leaving El Fasher in North Darfur as the last state capital under army control.

The UN, whose presence in the war-torn region is limited, estimates that the RSF killed about 800 people in attacks on Ardamata in West Darfur in the first few weeks of November.

However, the local human rights defenders estimate that well over a thousand people have died in West Darfur.

Human Rights Watch (HRW)states that “around 8,000 survivors from west Darfur who fled to Chad in the first week of November have reported mass killings, ethnically motivated executions, arbitrary detention, torture, sexual violence, and looting.”

According to the HRW report, fighters took unarmed Massalit men away from their families. Survivors who managed to cross the border claimed that after being lined up and tied together, beaten and shot, or killed, they fled to Chad.

HRW examined satellite imagery that seemed to corroborate reports of recently discovered mass graves, where survivors were buried before evacuating.

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