Sudan: fighting still raging in Khartoum, humanitarian aid hampered

Air raids, artillery fire and explosions rocked Khartoum again on Saturday as deadly fighting between the army and paramilitaries in Sudan, which enters its eighth week, forced volunteers to bury 180 unidentified bodies.

An operating room at Khartoum's Soba Hospital, emptied of staff, except for the dialysis department. AFP--

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After acknowledging the "suspension" of talks between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces, the US-Saudi mediation, the United States said Thursday it was ready to continue mediation. But on condition, Washington says, that both sides are "serious" about a truce.

Since then, violence has increased in recent days in the capital Khartoum. The sound of fighting echoes in the northern suburbs of Khartoum and a rain of shells fell on the south of the capital causing several injuries among civilians, residents told AFP on Saturday.

The army, led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane, targeted with its planes positions of paramilitaries of General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo's Rapid Support Forces (RSF), who responded with anti-aircraft battery fire, according to other residents of the capital.

Since the beginning of the bloody war between the two rival generals on April 15, humanitarians and volunteers have struggled to recover the bodies "due to security constraints".

The Sudanese Red Crescent said in a statement Saturday that 180 unidentified bodies had been buried: 102 in southern Khartoum and 78 in Darfur.

There are still no corridors cleared for the passage of humanitarian aid. A few shipments have been delivered, including medical aid, but they do not cover the immense needs, says Claire Nicolet, MSF emergency manager.

There are very few hospitals still functional in Khartoum, there is a need for emergency rooms, surgery. Many doctors have left [...] In Darfur, it is even more difficult because it is very difficult to take the road and no airport is open. Today, it is almost completely isolated and one of our main problems is to have permission to land in El Fasher to bring back additional equipment and teams.

Claire Nicolet

The conflict has already claimed the lives of more than 1800 people and displaced more than one and a half million people and refugees.

(With AFP)

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