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Conflict rages into second week in Sudan

China Daily | Updated: 2023-04-24 09:32

People gather to get bread while clashes rage between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces in Khartoum North, Sudan, on Saturday. MOHAMED NURELDIN ABDALLAH/REUTERS

China vows to protect citizens in fighting, which has claimed more than 400 lives

Ferocious battles between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces entered the second week, leaving more than 400 people dead and thousands wounded.

China's Foreign Ministry will make every effort to protect the safety and property of more than 1,500 Chinese citizens in the country, a senior official with the ministry said on Sunday.

"Now Chinese citizens and institutions in Sudan, particularly in the capital city of Khartoum, are faced with great security risks," Wu Xi, director-general of the ministry's Department of Consular Affairs, said in an interview with state broadcaster China Central Television.

According to Wu, the Communist Party of China Central Committee pays high attention to the safety of Chinese citizens and institutions in Sudan and Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, has instructed greater efforts to protect them.

The ministry is working with related departments, local governments and the Chinese embassy in Sudan to closely follow the latest developments, formulate working plans, keep close contact with Chinese citizens in Sudan, issue consular reminders and have intensive communication with the Sudanese side, Wu said.

Currently, there is still heavy gunfire in Khartoum and other regions, with a great threat from stray bullets and growing cases of social unrest, Wu said.

She reminded Chinese citizens in Sudan, particularly in Khartoum, to pay close attention to the local security situation and information issued by the Chinese embassy, remain calm, and stay on high alert while stepping up security precautions. "If there is any need, please contact the embassy and the embassy will do its best to provide assistance," Wu said.

Fighting continued on Sunday with the crackle of automatic gunfire echoing across the capital Khartoum and Sudanese military aircraft roaring overhead, Agence France-Presse quoted witnesses as saying.

Airstrikes again rocked the city of five million after a week of fighting between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, or RSF. The international airport has been repeatedly targeted and many residents have been unable to leave their homes or get out of the city to safer areas, Reuters reported.

The fighting breached what was meant to be a three-day truce from Friday to allow citizens to reach safety and visit family during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr. Both sides accused the other of not respecting the truce.

The UN World Health Organization has said that more than 420 people have been killed and over 3,700 wounded in the fighting across Sudan, but the actual death toll is thought to be higher.

Frightened residents, many low on water, food and other essentials, have huddled inside their homes in the chaos-torn city where buildings have been gutted, lampposts are lying on the ground, and smoke has been rising from shops set on fire, AFP reported.

While the capital has seen some of the fiercest clashes, fighting has broken out elsewhere across the country.

A UN update on Saturday said looters had taken at least 10 World Food Programme vehicles and six other food trucks after overrunning the agency's offices and warehouses in Nyala, in south Darfur.

The United Nations and foreign governments have urged the warring sides to honor the declared truce, and to open safe passage both for fleeing civilians and for the supply of badly needed aid.

The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, or ACHPR, has expressed deep concerns over the grave unfolding situation in Sudan.

The ACHPR has called on the AU Commission to initiate, in collaboration with the ACHPR, a mechanism for the documentation and reporting of the human rights issues in the ongoing fighting in Sudan, including through the assignments of an investigation mission by the AU Peace and Security Council.

Mo Jingxi in Beijing, agencies and Xinhua contributed to this story.

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