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Sudan capital hit by airstrikes after cease-fire fails

Wednesday April 19, 2023
By Mohammed Alamin and Simon Marks

Damaged Rapid Support Forces vehicles after clashes in Khartoum on April 18.Photographer: Omer Erdem/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Sudan’s capital was rocked by multiple airstrikes early Wednesday after a proposed cease-fire to halt four days of fighting between the army and a paramilitary group failed to hold.

Targets in Khartoum included the army headquarters, offices of the Rapid Support Forces and the densely populated Amarat area, residents said. Al-Arabiya TV reported that Sudanese “air defense” was targeting sites and supply routes used by the RSF, citing people it didn’t identify.

“Our whole house shook,” said Dallia Mohamed Abdelmoniem, a resident in Amarat, who reported three explosions in a row. “This was not a normal blast.”

Heavy fighting that erupted in Sudan’s capital and other cities since April 15 has left more than 180 people dead and at least 1,800 others injured. It has dashed hopes of a return to civilian rule after a 2021 coup and sparked fears of a full-blown civil war.

With neither side appearing willing to back down, the conflict is likely to be protracted and runs the risk of drawing in neighboring countries, Verisk Maplecroft said in a research note this week.

The renewed fighting came in spite of attempts to introduce a 24-hour truce starting from 6 p.m. Sudan-time Tuesday. The army had given mixed signals over whether it would observe the initiative, with one official accusing the RSF of mobilizing while requesting the pause.

Japan’s government said Wednesday it’s preparing to evacuate its nationals currently in Sudan. About 60 Japanese, including embassy staff, are currently in Sudan, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters in Tokyo.

--With assistance from Go Onomitsu.


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