Fighting between the Sudanese army and paramilitaries spread on Friday to the outskirts of Wad Madani, a town so far spared from the violence where hundreds of thousands of Sudanese have taken refuge, an AFP correspondent reported.
The Sudanese army prevented civilians from entering the town, which was overflown on Friday by fighter jets and where the sound of explosions could be heard, according to the same source.
Since the start of the war on April 15 between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Wad Madani, capital of al-Jazira state, 180 kilometers south of Khartoum, has become a refuge for half a million displaced persons fleeing the fighting in the capital, according to UN figures.
But in recent months, fighters have gradually been mobilized in the region, setting up checkpoints along the villages between Khartoum and Wad Madani.
On Friday, an AFP correspondent reported sounds of explosions coming from the northern outskirts of the town.
On social networks, Internet users who had already been displaced from Khartoum shared photos of columns of black smoke, expressing fears of having to flee the fighting again.
Stores and businesses were quickly closed on Friday, while families took to the streets in search of transport to get further south, once again seeking shelter, according to AFP’s correspondent.
In a statement on Friday, the RSF said it was seeking to “assure the dear citizens” of Al-Jazeera and Wad Madani that “the objective of our forces is to destroy the strongholds” of the army.
Since the beginning of the war, the two rival camps have accused each other of bombing residential areas and attacking civilians.
On April 15, army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane and his second-in-command, General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo, head of the dreaded RSF paramilitaries, turned their weapons on each other.
According to the UN, these eight months of war have left 12,000 people dead, a figure that is surely greatly underestimated given the extent to which entire areas of the country have been cut off from the rest of the world.
Source: Africa News