Shaden Gardood, a prominent Sudanese singer, has been killed in crossfire between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Omdurman city.
Fierce battles engulfed Omdurman and its twin city Khartoum on Friday, when Gardood was killed, and Saturday despite an agreement to protect civilians before ceasefire talks due to resume in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.
Omdurman has seen heavy fighting since the war began on April 15 as the two sides fought through several truces and have shown no sign of being willing to compromise.
Gardood lived in the el-Hashmab neighbourhood, which is near the National TV and Radio building, a focal point for the fighting.
Omdurman is a city of considerable significance, even giving its name to a genre of music called “Omdurman songs”, which fuses Egyptian and European orchestral influences with Sudanese rhythms and melodies and was first broadcast on Radio Omdurman.
Tributes pour in
The BBC reported that Gardood promoted peace and security in her region and promoted the culture of her marginalised community, the Baggara from South Kordofan.
Tributes flooded in online after her niece confirmed her death on Facebook, stating Gardood “was like a mother and a beloved to me, we were just chatting, may God give her mercy”.
Sudanese artist, singer and poet, Shaden Muhammad Hussayn was killed after a mortar hit her house in Omdurman. https://t.co/Mj8w7t0xJR
— Mohanad Hashim (@moehash1) May 13, 2023
Several posts suggested that Gardood had been killed after a mortar hit her home.
Shaden was a young artist who advocated for peace and justice through her song.
She died after a shell exploded next to her home in Omdurman 💔
May Allah rest her beautiful soul 👐 pic.twitter.com/qMLV1ozz3Y
— حَبابْ (@HababMO) May 13, 2023
The singer had been active on Facebook in the days leading up to her death, using the platform to criticise the war while offering encouragement to other civilians trapped in the fighting.
In a recent post, she said: “We have been trapped in our houses for 25 days … we are hungry and living in an enormous fear, but are full of ethics and values.”
The BBC reported that Gardood is survived by her 15-year-old son, Hamoudy, and her mother and sister.
More than 600 civilians have been reported to have died in the war so far, although figures are expected to be much higher.