Over the past weekend, the Sudanese landscape once again echoed with the sounds of conflict, a grim testament to the ongoing battles between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). This resurgence of violence comes in direct defiance of a declaration of principles, a supposed truce brokered in the Saudi city of Jeddah just last week. Reports emerging from Khartoum North depict a situation steeped in tragedy, with descriptors such as ‘catastrophic’ frequently used.
The focal point of this renewed violence has been located in the southern quarters of Khartoum. Other areas, including Khartoum North (Bahri) and Omdurman, also witnessed their share of battles yesterday. This resurgence of violence marks exactly one month since the conflict initially erupted on April 15. Even now, a month into this brutal conflict, the exact tally of lives lost remains shrouded in uncertainty and ambiguity.
Yesterday, a statement from the United Nations painted a grim picture, estimating that the conflict has claimed over 750 lives, leaving more than 5,000 individuals injured. However, even these sobering numbers might be vastly underestimated. The official death toll is usually derived from hospital records, but many victims of the conflict aren’t accounted for in these ledgers. Bodies left unidentified on the streets and unregistered casualties could mean the real death toll is significantly higher.
This tragic reality was underscored by reports from the resistance committee of the El Mughtaribeen neighborhood in Khartoum. The committee reported the horrifying sight of numerous corpses littering the roads, their presence marked by an increasingly unbearable stench. In a brazen display of intimidation, RSF soldiers reportedly threatened those who sought to remove these bodies.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) delivered more alarming news earlier today. According to their records, the conflict has resulted in the displacement of nearly a million people, precisely 936,000, since it began. This includes approximately 736,200 Sudanese displaced within Sudan’s borders and 200,000 who have sought refuge in neighboring countries.
This new displacement comes atop an already staggering 3.7 million Internally Displaced People (IDPs) that Sudan has been grappling with as of November 2022, as reported by the UN OCHA.
In another blow to the increasingly dire situation, the Civil Aviation Authority in Sudan decided to extend the closure of airspace until May 31. This closure applies to all air traffic, as reported by the Sudan News Agency (SUNA). An exception has been made for humanitarian aid and evacuation flights, which are allowed to operate after securing the requisite permissions from the appropriate authorities.
This ongoing crisis in Sudan provides a stark reminder of the devastating impacts of conflict, a grim tableau of lives lost, people displaced, and communities forever scarred.