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Sudan activists say about '40 dead' in shelling near Khartoum

By AFP - Jun 09,2024 - Last updated at Jun 09,2024

Damaged shops are seen in Obdurman, Sudan, on May 30 as the war has raged for more than a year in Sudan (AFP photo)

PORT SUDAN, Sudan — Pro-democracy activists in Sudan reported Friday about 40 dead in "violent artillery fire" the previous day when paramilitary forces targeted Omdurman, Khartoum's twin city.

Sudan has been ravaged by war since April 2023, when fighting broke out between the army, led by military chief Abdel Fattah Al Burhan, and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), commanded by Burhan's former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.

The Karari Resistance Committee, one of hundreds of grassroots pro-democracy groups that coordinate aid across Sudan, said the RSF was behind Thursday's deadly attack on Omdurman.

"So far, the death toll is estimated at 40 civilians and there are more than 50 injured, some seriously," the organisation posted on social media.

"There is still no precise count of the number of victims," it said, adding that bodies were received by Al Nao university hospital and other private health facilities or were buried by relatives.

The shelling came a day after the RSF was accused of killing more than 104 people, including 35 children, when they attacked the village of Wad Al Noura in Al-Jazira state, south of Khartoum.

In just over a year, the war in Sudan has claimed thousands of lives, with some estimates putting the death toll as high as 150,000, according to the United States envoy to Sudan, Tom Perriello.

War crimes 

accusations 

 

Since the war began, more than seven million people have fled their homes for other parts of Sudan, adding to 2.8 million already displaced from previous conflicts in the country of 48 million.

Fighting continues daily, including in the capital, with both sides accused of war crimes including deliberately targeting civilians, indiscriminate shelling of residential areas and blocking humanitarian aid.

At least 35 children were killed in the attack on Wad Al Noura, with activists from the Madani Resistance Committee sharing images on social media of a row of white shrouds on the ground.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the attack, while the UN resident coordinator for Sudan, Clementine Nkweta-Salami, said she was “shocked by reports of violent attacks and a high number of casualties” in the village, and called for an investigation.

“Human tragedy has become a hallmark of life in Sudan. We cannot allow impunity to become another one,” she added.

The European Union was “appalled by credible reports of yet another senseless massacre of over 100 defenceless villagers”, its foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement Friday.

He stressed the importance of “monitoring and documentation of human rights violations” in Sudan’s war “to ensure that the perpetrators of these crimes are held fully accountable”.

 

UNICEF chief ‘horrified’ 

 

African Union Commission chief Moussa Faki Mahamat said he was “alarmed” that the situation in Sudan continued to deteriorate, and called in a statement on the warring sides “to end the fighting unconditionally”.

The United States condemned the “horrific attacks... on unarmed civilians” in Wad Al Noura, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said, urging accountability and a resumption of ceasefire talks.

“Attacks on civilians throughout Sudan must stop now. There can be no military victory in this war,” Miller’s statement said.

The RSF is accused of looting as well as sexual and ethnic violence, and has attacked entire villages across Sudan on multiple occasions.

In a statement, the paramilitaries said they had attacked three army camps in the region of Wad Al Noura and clashed with them “outside” the inhabited area.

On Thursday, army chief Burhan visited the injured. In a statement he promised to “respond harshly” to the “crimes” of the RSF.

The head of the UN’s children’s agency, Catherine Russell, said she was “horrified by the reports that at least 35 children were killed and more than 20 children injured” in the attack.

“Attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure are unacceptable and must cease immediately,” the UNICEF chief said.

Both Russell and Borrell called on those fighting to abide by international law and for an end to the war.

On Thursday, the International Organization for Migration said the number of internally displaced persons could “exceed 10 million” in the coming days.

Starvation is also a growing threat in Sudan, with about 18 million people suffering from hunger and 3.8 million children acutely malnourished, according to UN agencies.

 

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