Air strikes and fighting asSudan truce collapses


Air strikes have intensified in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, despite a truce aimed at allowing civilians to flee.

The army said it was attacking the city to flush out its paramilitary rivals, the Rapid Response Forces (RSF).

The latest truce was due to end at midnight on Sunday. The RSF said it had been extended for another three days.

Millions remain trapped in the capital, where food is running short. The first major aid flight, laden with medical supplies, has arrived in the country.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says a plane landed at Port Sudan with eight tonnes of relief supplies, including health kits for hospitals.

“With hostilities still ongoing, ICRC teams will need guarantees of safe passage from the parties to the conflict to deliver this material to medical facilities in locations with active fighting, such as Khartoum,” a statement said.

More than 70% of health facilities in the capital have been forced to close as a result of the fighting that erupted on 15 April.

More than 500 people have been reported killed, with the actual total number of dead and injured expected to be much higher.

Army commander Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and RSF chief Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemedti, are vying for power – and disagree in particular about plans to include the RSF into the army.

Foreign countries have been evacuating their nationals amid the chaos.

The warring sides agreed a humanitarian truce after intensive diplomatic efforts by neighbouring countries, the US, UK and UN. It was extended, but did not hold. There are few signs the army will respect the further extension announced by the RSF on Sunday.

The army said it had conducted operations against RSF troops north of the city centre.

Eyewitnesses told Reuters news agency that army drones had targeted RSF position near a major oil refinery.

“We woke up once again to the sound of fighter jets and anti-aircraft weapons blasting all over our neighbourhood,” one resident told AFP news agency on Sunday.

BBC diplomatic correspondent Paul Adams, who is monitoring events from Nairobi in Kenya, says the army will find it difficult to expel the RSF from Khartoum.

For all the army’s superior firepower, the RSF are highly mobile and more suited to urban warfare, our correspondent adds.

The UK government announced on Sunday that it would organise a final evacuation flight on Monday – two days after it said it had ended its operation to bring British nationals out. The Foreign Office (FCDO) advised those wishing to leave to travel to the evacuation point in Port Sudan before 12:00 (10:00 GMT). So far, 2,122 people have been evacuated, the FCDO statement said.

A US-organised convoy has reached Port Sudan to evacuate more US citizens by ship to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. It said hundreds of Americans had already left, in addition to the diplomats evacuated by air a week ago.

Also on Saturday Sudanese former Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok warned that the conflict could become worse than those in Syria and Libya. Those wars have led to hundreds of thousands of deaths and caused instability in the wider regions.

Speaking in Nairobi, he said: “I think it will be a nightmare for the world. This is not a war between an army and small rebellion. It is almost like two armies.”

Meanwhile, there are chaotic scenes in Port Sudan where people are desperate to board ships, some of which are heading to Saudi Arabia and