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With 185 killed, deadly military conflict in Sudan rages on

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-04-18 16:01

Smoke rises from burning aircraft inside Khartoum Airport in Khartoum, Sudan April 17, 2023. [Photo/Agencies]

KHARTOUM - Clashes between the Sudanese Army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Sudan have killed 185 people and wounded another 1,800 as of Monday, while showing no sign of abating.

Volker Perthes, head of the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan, briefed the Security Council in a closed-door session on the latest situation of the conflict.

"It's a very fluid situation, so it's very difficult to say where the balance is shifting to," Perthes told reporters after the meeting.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called on leaders of the Sudanese Armed Forces and the RSF to immediately cease hostilities and begin a dialogue to resolve the crisis. But the UN envoy to Sudan said the two sides showed no signs of being willing to negotiate.

The Sudanese Army said on Monday that they had limited clashes with the RSF around the perimeter of the army's General Command and the center of Khartoum.

"The armed forces are in complete control of all their headquarters, and what is being circulated about the enemy's seizure of the general command, the guesthouse, or the Republican palace is untrue," the army said in a statement.

The army added that the Sudanese Air Force on Monday launched strikes against a number of hostile targets with the aim of ending pockets of the RSF in the capital.

Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, commander of the RSF, on Monday urged the international community to intervene to stop what he termed as "crimes of Sudanese army commander."

"The international community must take action now and intervene against the crimes of Sudanese General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, a radical Islamist who is bombing civilians from the air," Dagalo said on his Twitter account on Monday.

"The army is waging a brutal campaign against the innocent, bombing them with missiles," he added.

He also denied that his forces initiated the fighting with the Sudanese army. "We did not attack anyone. Our actions are merely a response to the siege and assault against our force," he said.

The fighting is triggering a deteriorating humanitarian crisis across the country.

"The clashes are preventing people, especially in cities, from accessing food, water, education, fuel and other critical services for their families," UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths said on Monday. "Health services, already precarious, could be further pushed to the brink."

"Reports that hospitals and water and electrical infrastructure have come under attack are extremely alarming," Griffiths said.

Israel on Monday said it was "following with concern" the fighting.

"Israel wants stability and security for Sudan," Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lior Haiat wrote on Twitter.

In response to the raging conflict, Kenya announced plans to evacuate 3,000 of its nationals in Sudan.

"We are assembling all the logistics required to evacuate our citizens once Sudan's airspace is open and there is the ability to move people safely," Roseline Njogu, principal secretary for State Department for Diaspora Affairs, told media.

Fighting between the Sudanese Army and the RSF erupted on Saturday morning, and has raged into its third day.

The two sides have been using tanks, artillery, fighter jets and other heavy weapons in their exchange of fire.

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