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Hundreds of displaced Sudanese evicted as war rages

By AFP - Nov 08,2023 - Last updated at Nov 08,2023

PORT SUDAN, Sudan — Sudanese police on Wednesday forcibly evicted hundreds of civilians who had been sheltering at a school in the eastern state of Gedaref, eyewitnesses said, as the army and paramilitaries battled in the capital.

A resident, Amal Hussein, said she saw “police cars surround” the school and heard people scream.

“Police came and ordered us to leave the school, based on a decision from the governor, and fired tear gas at us,” Hussein Gomaa, who had been displaced from Khartoum, told AFP.

“We are 770 people who had fled the war in Khartoum and were sheltering in this school,” Gomaa said after fleeing the makeshift displacement camp, where he said hundreds of people “had been receiving aid”.

“We don’t understand why we were driven out,” he said. “Now we’re out in the open with women and children, and we don’t know where to go.”

Gedaref currently hosts 273,000 people who have been uprooted in the conflict between the Sudanese army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

According to the United Nations, thousands are being housed in makeshift camps such as schools where food, clean water and healthcare are in short supply.

Barely two hours after they were forced out, Suleiman Mohammed, who had also been taking shelter at the school, said they were again “evacuated from the dormitories” of Gedaref University’s medical school.

“Police said the decision was issued by the governor,” he added.

Since April, forces loyal to army chief Abdel Fattah Al Burhan — Sudan’s de facto head of state — have been at war with the RSF commanded by his former deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.

More than 10,000 people have been killed, according to a conservative estimate from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data project.

After the warring sides failed to agree on a ceasefire in Saudi- and US-brokered talks this week, the fighting continued Wednesday, with a committee of volunteers reporting “intensified clashes” in a densely populated neighbourhood of northern Khartoum.

Out of 4.6 million people internally displaced within Sudan, more than three million people have fled the violence in the capital, according to UN figures.

The country is facing an “unimaginable humanitarian crisis”, the UN refugee agency said on Tuesday, with most hospitals shuttered and millions in severe need of aid as the violence continues unabated.

In the vast western region of Darfur, where some of the worst fighting has taken place, the RSF has claimed control of all but one major city.

Their advance amid a communications blackout has triggered renewed fears of ethnically motivated mass killings.


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