More than 100 killed in two weeks of fighting in Sudan’s el-Fasher: MSF

Charity says more than 900 wounded in the capital of North Darfur province in fighting between Sudan’s army and the RSF.

A man stands by as a fire rages in a livestock market area in al-Fasher, the capital of Sudan's North Darfur state
More than a year of war has killed 14,000 people in Sudan, according to United Nations estimates, with the conflict forcing about nine million people to flee their homes and pushing five million to the brink of famine [AFP]

More than 100 people have been killed in just over two weeks in a major city in Sudan’s Darfur region, an aid group has said, as the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and allied armed groups are locked in fierce fighting against the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

At least 134 people have been killed and more than 900 wounded since May 10 in el-Fasher, the capital of North Darfur, Doctors Without Borders, known by its French initials MSF, said on Sunday.

One of the victims, a staff watchman at MSF’s pharmacy in el-Fasher, died of his wounds in a hospital after shelling hit his house on Saturday.

“The numbers of people killed and wounded are increasing each day as intense fighting continues,” the group said in a statement. “We urge warring parties to do more to protect civilians”.

El-Fasher has witnessed renewed fierce fighting as the RSF is pressing deeper seeking to take control. The city is the last remaining capital in the Darfur region not to have fallen to the paramilitary group. It is also hosting the region’s last garrison of the SAF. Earlier this month, the RSF besieged the city and launched a major attack on its southern and eastern parts.

To repel the paramilitary group’s advance towards el-Fasher, two ex-Darfur rebel leaders, Minni Minnawi and Jibril Ibrahim, broke months of neutrality by siding with the SAF last November.

The RSF emerged out of what rebel groups call the Janjaweed, an Arab force that killed thousands of non-Arabs in Darfur during the war in the region, which began in 2003 and ended with a peace deal in 2020.

“The world is watching silently what is going on in Fasher … as if it was a scene from a fictional action movie scene,” Minnawi said in a Facebook message on Sunday. “The operation is being carried out by the hands of the same characters that carried out ethnic cleansing and genocide in 2003.”

Sudan has been engulfed in a brutal conflict since April last year when a simmering rivalry between SAF’s General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and RSF chief Mohamed Hamdan “Hemedti” broke into an open war.

While much of the early fighting took place around the capital Khartoum, it quickly spread to other parts of the country, including the southwestern state of Darfur. There, it quickly took an interethnic dimension as old rivalries linked to the previous war that began in 2003 resurfaced.

More than a year of war has killed 14,000 people, according to United Nations estimates. The conflict has forced about nine million people to flee their homes and pushed pockets of the population to starve. Nearly five million people are on the verge of famine, according to the World Food Programme.

Observers have long warned that the fall of el-Fasher would further deteriorate an already dire humanitarian situation in Darfur.

“Sudan is the biggest famine [in the world] and the epicentre of that famine is the Darfur region, which is being ravaged by the Rapid Support Forces as they’ve rampaged across it,” Alex de Waal, executive director of the World Peace Foundation, told Al Jazeera.

“[They’re] attacking it [el-Fasher], starving it and threatening yet another disaster in this terrible war,” he said.

Source: Al Jazeera