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Sudan crisis: Air strikes as UN warns of collapse

People gather to ride trucks as they flee during clashes between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces in South Khartoum locality, Sudan April 26, 2023. REUTERS/Stringer

The Fighting has intensified in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, shattering the latest ceasefire aimed at allowing people to flee to safety.

The army announced on Sunday that it was attacking the city from all sides, using air strikes and heavy artillery to wipe out its paramilitary adversaries.

The latest cease-fire was set to expire late on Sunday. Millions of people are still stranded in the capital, where food is running out.

Foreign nations have been evacuating their citizens in the midst of the chaos.

Since fighting between the regular army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) started on April 15, more than 500 people have reportedly died. However, there could be a lot more people hurt and killed.

Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the commander of the army, and Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, often known as Hemedti, the head of the RSF, are competing for control.

The US, UK, and UN made extensive diplomatic efforts before agreeing Thursday night to extend an uneasy ceasefire. But the extra 72 hours have not been honored.

“There is no right to go on fighting for power when the country is falling apart,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Saturday as fighting between Sudan’s army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) enters a third week.

Although the latest three-day ceasefire is due to expire at midnight, battles have raged as rival generals take aim at each other in the media.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) raises the alarm, warning that the ongoing violence could plunge all of East Africa into a humanitarian crisis.

The UK evacuation flight from Sudan leaves Wadi Saeedna airfield near Khartoum, said the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

Sudan’s former Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok warns that the conflict in the turbulent African nation could deteriorate into one of the world’s worst civil wars if not stopped early.

By Saturday evening, heavy fighting had resumed in Khartoum. The army said it had conducted operations against RSF troops north of the city centre.

On Saturday the UK government has ended its evacuation operation as the Foreign Office said the last flight left Khartoum at 22:00 local time (20:00 GMT), and in total nearly 1,900 people were flown out.

A US-organised convoy has reached Port Sudan to evacuate more US citizens by ship to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. It said hundreds of Americans had already left, in addition to the diplomats evacuated by air a week ago.

On Saturday Sudanese former Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok warned that the conflict could become worse than those in Syria and Libya.

Speaking in Nairobi, he said: “I think it will be a nightmare for the world. This is not a war between an army and small rebellion. It is almost like two armies.”

Those wars have led to hundreds of thousands of deaths and caused instability in the wider regions.