Sudan fighters evict Khartoum residents

Fighting rages in western Darfur region; airspace closure extended until Aug 15 due to conflict

Sudan’s paramilitaries have ordered civilians to vacate homes in the capital’s south, several residents said late on Sunday, as fighting between the forces of rival generals raged in the western Darfur region.

“Members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) told me I had 24 hours to leave the area,” Khartoum resident Fawzy Radwan told AFP.

He had been guarding his family’s home since fighting began in the city more than three months ago between the RSF and the regular army.

Meanwhile, the Sudanese civil aviation authority extended the closure of Sudan’s airspace until August 15, except for humanitarian aid and evacuation flights, Khartoum International Airport said in a statement early yesterday.

The war between army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his former deputy, RSF commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, has killed at least 3,900 people, according to a conservative estimate, and displaced some 3.5 million.

Much of the fighting has occurred in densely populated neighbourhoods of Khartoum, pushing 1.7 million residents to flee and forcing the millions who remain to shelter from the crossfire in their homes, rationing water and electricity.

Hundreds of residents were being evicted from southern Khartoum’s Jabra neighbourhood, according to residents on Sunday.

Jabra and the nearby area of Sahafa are home to the army artillery corps as well as an RSF base used by Daglo.

“They told us this is a military zone now and they don’t want civilians around,” resident Nasser Hussein told AFP.

The RSF has been accused of rampant looting and of forcibly evicting people from their homes since the war began on April 15.

Along with Khartoum, some of the worst violence has been in the conflict-scarred region of Darfur, where allegations of war crimes have sparked a new investigation by the International Criminal Court.

Again on Sunday, clashes in Nyala — the capital of South Darfur state and Sudan’s second-biggest city — sent bombs falling on civilian neighborhoods, witnesses said.

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