Fighting between the army and paramilitaries in Sudan has killed around 200 people and wounded 1,800, damaging hospitals and hampering aid on Monday after three days of urban warfare.
A weeks-long power struggle exploded into deadly violence Saturday between the forces of two generals who seized power in a 2021 coup, Sudan’s army chief Abdel Fattah al Burhan and his deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
The European Union’s ambassador to Sudan was attacked in his home in the city on Monday, the bloc’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said. A spokesperson told AFP the veteran diplomat was “OK” following the assault.
“Security of diplomatic premises and staff is a primary responsibility of Sudanese authorities and an obligation under international law,” Borrell said.
Battles have taken place throughout the vast country, and there are fears of regional spillover.
Terrified residents of the capital are spending the last and holiest days of Ramadan watching from their windows as tanks roll through the streets, buildings shake, and smoke from fires triggered by the fighting hangs in the air.
The conflict has seen air strikes, artillery and heavy gunfire.
Those compelled to venture out face queues for bread and petrol at outlets which are not shuttered. Residents are also dealing with power outages.
Volker Perthes, the head of the United Nations mission to Sudan, told the Security Council in a closed-door session that at least 185 people have been killed and another 1,800 wounded.
“It’s a very fluid situation so it’s very difficult to say where the balance is shifting to,” Perthes told reporters after the meeting.
Earlier Monday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres again called on Sudan’s warring parties to “immediately cease hostilities”. He warned that further escalation “could be devastating for the country and the region.”
Vital aid suspended
Medics in Sudan had earlier given a death toll of nearly 100 civilians and “dozens” of fighters from both sides, but the number of casualties was thought to be far higher, with many wounded unable to reach hospitals.
The official doctors’ union warned fighting had “heavily damaged” multiple hospitals in Khartoum and other cities, with some completely “out of service”.
The World Health Organization had already warned that several of Khartoum’s nine hospitals tending to wounded civilians “have run out of blood, transfusion equipment, intravenous fluids and other vital supplies”.
In the western region of Darfur, international medical aid organisation Doctors Without Borders (MSF) reported receiving 136 wounded patients at the only hospital in El Fasher still operating in North Darfur state.
“The majority of the wounded are civilians who were caught in the crossfire — among them are many children,” MSF’s Cyrus Paye said.
Due to limited surgical capacity, “11 people died from their injuries in the first 48 hours of the conflict.”
Three UN World Food Programme staff were also among those killed, on Saturday in Darfur, where humanitarian missions have had medical and other supplies looted, according to Save the Children and MSF.
A number of organisations have temporarily suspended operations in the country, where one-third of the population needs aid.
“This renewed fighting only aggravates what was already a fragile situation, forcing UN agencies and our humanitarian partners to temporarily shutter many of our more than 250 programmes across Sudan,” said UN emergency relief coordinator Martin Griffiths.