Sudan: Concerns Over Museum Artefacts

Khartoum — Civilians and activists expressed fears that the contents of the National Museum in Khartoum might be damaged after the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) took control of the premises and footage of museum raids circulated on social media.

Activists and Sudanese heritage officials have expressed their concerns and pleaded with the RSF and the army to preserve historical artefacts.

The National Museum in Khartoum contains tens of thousands of historical artefacts, including mummies from 2,500 BC, some of the oldest in the world.

The museum staff was forced to leave due to the ongoing fighting. Its location in central Khartoum means that the museum is located close to the frontlines of the clashes.

Pictures of museum vandalism circulated on social media, but it was confirmed that several photos were from incidents at museums outside Sudan. The Rapid Support Forces reported in a video clip on their official account that the museum was intact and had not been subjected to any vandalism.

Museum Director Dr Ghalia Gharelnabi, however, told the Guardian that staff were “in a state of shock” after seeing a video clip that showed RSF troops in the museum’s bioarchaeology lab, opening storage containers containing mummies and other remains.

“To start with, I did not believe what I was seeing. Now I am worried about where else they might have gone in the museum that no one filmed, and what else they are going to do” said Gharelnabi, who managed to flee to the Netherlands her house was destroyed when clashes erupted in April.