At least 25 people were killed on Saturday due to ongoing violence between paramilitaries and Sudan’s regular army, a local doctors’ organization reports. Airline KLM is avoiding airspace due to the violent confrontations in the African country.
In addition to the reported deaths, at least 183 people were injured across the country, Sudanese Doctors’ Union told Reuters news agency. It is unclear whether all of the cases involve civilians. A spokesman for KLM confirms reports on Saturday about NOS avoiding the airspace. KLM itself does not fly to the capital Khartoum, but normally flies over the country to countries such as Kenya and Tanzania. But the situation is now flying around the country.
Fighting at international airport
Sudan was rocked on Saturday by violence between the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the army, led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. Fighting took place at the international airport of the capital Khartoum, the presidential palace and at the Sudanese state broadcaster, among others. Both sides claim control of the airport and the presidential palace. At least two people were killed at Khartoum airport. There were also deaths in the cities of Omdurman, Nyala, El Obeid and El Fasher.
Dutch embassy: in contact with fifty Dutch people
The Dutch embassy in Sudan has contact with fifty Dutch people. This was reported by the Dutch ambassador, Irma van Dueren, on Saturday evening in the Radio 1 program Met het Oog op Morgen. The embassy mainly has contact with Sudanese Dutch people, people with double passports. “They come in and out of the country,” she says. This makes it difficult to form an active picture of the number of Dutch people in the country. Van Dueren calls on people to register with the embassy ‘to get the best possible picture of how many there are and to help them’.
Van Dueren is currently in the Netherlands. She was at Schiphol on Saturday morning to fly back to Khartoum, but that could not take place because the airport there is closed due to the fierce fighting. “Early in the morning we heard noises that there was unrest. I tried to go anyway, but at one point I heard that the airport was closed.” The ambassador is in contact with her embassy team and the Dutch in Sudan. “They are sometimes difficult to understand, the shooting is so loud,” said Van Dueren.
Plane shot at
Saudi Arabia reported ‘an accident’ with a Saudi plane at the airport in Khartoum. It would have been fired on while passengers and crew members were on board. The Saudia airline has taken all passengers, crew members and employees to the Saudi Arabian embassy in the Sudanese capital. It also canceled all onward flights to and from Sudan until further notice.
Call to stay inside
Peace had not yet returned to the country on Saturday evening. For example, explosions can still be heard near the airport. The Sudanese Air Force has urged civilians to stay indoors so it can investigate RSF activities. The violence comes after weeks of rising tensions between army chief al-Burhan and his number two Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, better known as Hemedti. He heads the RSF. The two are in conflict over the integration of the RSF into the regular army.
During a military coup in 2021, al-Burhan and Hemedti still worked together, but Hemedti has increasingly distanced himself from al-Burhan. In recent months, Hemedti said the coup was a mistake that brought no change to Sudan but revived the remnants of Omar al-Bashir’s regime. Al-Bashir was deposed in 2019 after a popular uprising.
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EU and US: end violence
According to doctors, there have also been violent incidents in residential areas and at least nine civilians have been injured. Civic leaders have called for an immediate ceasefire to prevent a “total collapse” of the country. Protracted confrontation could significantly worsen the security situation in the country, which is already beset by economic problems and tribal violence.
The EU and the US, among others, have called for an end to the violence. Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations – also calls for the same.
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