Heavy fighting between warring factions of the country’s army continued in Sudan Saturday despite an extension of a ceasefire between the two sides brokered by the United States. File photo by EPA-EFE
April 29 (UPI) -- Heavy fighting between warring factions of the country's army continued in Sudan Saturday despite an extension of a cease-fire between the two sides brokered by the United States.
Rocket attacks continued in the country's capital city of Khartoum and fighting picked up around the presidential palace, witnesses said. The residence is serving as the headquarters for Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who is leading the Sudanese Army in the conflict.
Sudanese Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who heads the breakaway paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, said he would not begin negotiations until fighting with the Sudanese Armed Forces stops.
"We don't want to destroy Sudan," Dagalo told the BBC Saturday, placing the blame on al-Burhan.
Before squaring off with each other, the two warring generals worked together in 2019 to overthrow Sudan's former president Omar al-Bashir, who was later convicted on corruption charges.
Hundreds of people have died as a result of the fighting so far, which began April 15. Thousands more have been forced to flee from their homes and seek shelter amid the ongoing fighting, according to the United Nations.
"It is deeply alarming that inmates have been released from, or escaped from, a number of prisons," U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Ravina Shamdasani said in a statement issued Friday. "We are very worried about the prospect of further violence, amid a generalized climate of impunity."
Air, tank and artillery strikes continued in multiple areas of Khartoum as people fled the city. Fighting is also taking place in other cities and towns across the country, residents said.
"We didn't expect it... there was fire in the streets, fire in the houses, in the cars," Khartoum resident Nagham Hayati told Al Jazeera Saturday. "After two, three days of this, the RSF had a shortage of food, water and power, so they started to invade homes."
Now entering its third, week, the fighting has already created a humanitarian crisis.
"We're concerned that the intercommunal violence is going to increase and that we might have some situations which will repeat in relation to what we had a couple of years ago," U.N. representative to Sudan Axel Bisschop told reporters in Geneva on Friday.
A second American was caught up and killed in the fighting last week as the U.S. State Department urged American citizens to leave the area.
Several other countries have started conducting airlifts to get their citizens out of Sudan.
Turkey on Friday blamed Sudanese paramilitary forces for shooting at one of its departing military planes filled with evacuees, causing a light fire aboard the aircraft.