NEW YORK – Bodies of the dead lined the streets of Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, as fierce fighting between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces continued for a sixth day. The fighting has left thousands in Khartoum and across the country sheltering in place with limited food, electricity and water, with all-out warfare raging in the streets.
So far, at least 330 people have been killed and 3,200 injured from the fighting, according to the World Health Organization, but those figures are likely an “underestimation of the true impact of the crisis,” according to WHO’s regional director for the Eastern Mediterranean. Ahmed Al-Mandhari said on Thursday in a press conference.
On Thursday, a US State Department spokesperson said that it was confirmed that an American citizen was among those killed in the conflict in Sudan.
The representative of the World Health Organization in Sudan, Nima Saeed Abid, said Thursday that a third of health facilities in Sudan are out of service.
Al-Mandhari noted that “20 hospitals have been forced to close due to attacks or lack of resources, and eight other health facilities are at risk of closure due to staff fatigue or shortages of medical staff and supplies.”
Since the fighting began, the Sudanese Doctors Union said Thursday that nine hospitals have been hit by artillery and 19 have been forced to evacuate. Multiple aid organizations said they had received reports of assault and deliberate targeting of workers on the ground.
An unsuccessful ceasefire, which they called earlier this week, has left the wounded and needy stranded without resources. A ceasefire was called to allow the wounded to reach hospitals and to allow aid organizations to provide needed support, but calm never came in the capital or in other parts of the country.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a three-day ceasefire to mark Eid al-Fitr “to allow people trapped in conflict areas to escape and seek medical treatment” on Thursday.
Guterres said the cessation of hostilities must be followed by “serious dialogue that allows for a successful transition that begins with the appointment of a civilian government.”
“The fighting must stop immediately,” he added.
The head of Sudan’s transitional sovereign council, army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, said there was “no room” to talk with the RSF in a televised interview with Al Jazeera on Thursday after Guterres called for a three-day ceasefire. .
In the capital, residents saw bodies from both sides of the conflict littering the streets.
“The dead bodies are lying on the ground in a main street in Taif and on the western road outside Khartoum,” Hadeel Mohamed, a resident of Khartoum’s Taif district, told ABC News.
Taif is about five miles from the main battle front around the military headquarters in Khartoum. Mohamed fled to her family’s home on the outskirts of the capital on Wednesday.
“Everyone was in their homes. Nobody could move,” Mohamed said of the situation in Khartoum. “Nobody wanted to dare move. We had food supplies, but people who were starting to run out were going out to try and find shops to get food.”
Most shops and banks are closed in the capital, said Mohammed and Musdalfa, residents of the Jabra neighborhood in western Khartoum, making it difficult for residents who go out to get more supplies to find anything.
“I went to the supermarket today and didn’t find most of the things I needed,” Mosdalefa told ABC News. The shop owner said that since Saturday, suppliers have stopped providing dairy products, chicken and other products due to the bad security situation.
UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said in a statement Thursday that at least nine children were killed in Khartoum and more than 50 children were injured.
The fighting “has already disrupted life-saving care for an estimated 50,000 severely malnourished children,” Russell said.
The United Nations World Food Program estimated in a statement released Thursday that the conflict could plunge millions more into starvation. The United Nations World Food Program has been forced to “pause” its operations in Sudan because of the fighting.
For people brave enough to leave in the midst of the fighting, the options are to leave on foot or in cars. The airspace over Sudan is closed.
An estimated 10,000 to 20,000 refugees have arrived in Chad over the past two days, fleeing the conflict in Sudan, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said in a statement issued Thursday.
The UNHCR said in the statement: “The majority of the arrivals are women and children who are currently hiding in the open.”
Meanwhile, the fighting continues without any signs of stopping.
Mohammed described the fighting in the capital as “militias fighting each other” because “the army acts like militias,” she said.
“There was no ceasefire,” Mohammed said. “They both didn’t stop shooting.”
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