Heavy fighting erupts in Sudan’s capital ahead of Eid al-Adha

Sudanese army armored vehicles drive in a street in Khartoum, on June 26, 2023. (PHOTO / AFP)

KHARTOUM – Heavy fighting erupted between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum on Tuesday, on the eve of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.

Heavy artillery fire and gunshots were heard in parts of Khartoum, local witnesses said, after RSF commander Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo announced on Monday in an audio recording posted on Facebook a two-day "unilateral cease-fire" ahead of the festival.

ALSO READ: Sudan welcomes UN rights chief condemnation of paramilitaries

The armed conflict in Sudan has so far shown no sign of abating since it began on April 15, despite the cease-fire deals reached intermittently between the warring sides over the past ten weeks.

The UN refugee agency warned on Tuesday that an earlier projection that conflict in Sudan would prompt one million people to flee across its borders is likely to be surpassed

In addition to causing significant property damage and lootings in Khartoum, where foreign diplomatic missions have also been targeted, the conflict has also caused turmoil in other parts of Sudan, particularly in Darfur, a vast western region that borders Chad.

In a statement issued on Saturday, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) called for immediate actions to stop the killing of civilians who were fleeing El Geneina, the capital city of West Darfur State.

ALSO READ: Fighting surges in Sudan's capital as 3-day ceasefire expires

The UN refugee agency warned on Tuesday that an earlier projection that conflict in Sudan would prompt one million people to flee across its borders is likely to be surpassed.

People ride with furniture and other items atop a truck moving along a road from Khartoum to Wad Madani at the locality of Kamlin, about 80 km southeast of Khartoum, on June 22, 2023. (PHOTO / AFP)

So far, the conflict between warring military factions that began in mid-April has caused nearly 600,000 people to escape into neighboring countries, including Egypt, Chad, South Sudan, and Central African Republic.

READ MORE: Envoy calls for patience in S. Sudan's political process

"Unfortunately, looking at the trends, looking at the situation in Darfur, we're likely to go beyond 1 million," Raouf Mazou, UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Operations, said in response to a question about its estimate in April for the coming six months, reports Reuters from Geneva. 

The Sudanese Doctors Syndicate said that more than 1,000 people had been killed in El Geneina by armed militias.