SAF/RSF fighting breaks out in North Darfur capital and Abu Shouk camp

Fierce fighting between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) erupted in the northern parts of El Fasher, capital of North Darfur, yesterday morning. Two were killed as the clashes spread to the neighbouring Abu Shouk camp for displaced people.

Eyewitnesses told Radio Dabanga on Saturday that Abou Shouk camp residents Ahmed Hussein (40) and Taha Ishag (30) were killed, and eight others were injured by stray bullets and missiles.

The El Fasher Resistance Committees said on their Facebook page yesterday that the sounds of heavy and light artillery were shaking the city. Most shops in the northern part of the camp were plundered. “Even tankers were stolen.”

Yesterday evening, a relatively calm was reported, “amid full alertness by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), RSF, and the Darfur joint rebel forces”.

Emergency Lawyers explained in a statement that a force belonging to the Sudanese army attacked RSF sites near the Abu Shouk camp in the north of El Fasher.

“The attempts of both sides to provoke the other to ignite military operations threaten the lives of hundreds of thousands of city residents and displaced people,” the lawyers say.

Many people who fled the RSF/SAF battles in other cities in Darfur in the past months, have sought refuge in El Fasher and surroundings. “They live in dire conditions, while the city is witnessing a heavy deployment of soldiers of the SAF, the RSF, and rebel movements, reminding the people of a bloody history.”

The lawyers warn of a major humanitarian catastrophe “caused by moving military operations to cities that serve as a refuge for those who fled the fighting, as is now also the case in Wad Madani”.

Emergency Lawyers therefore calls on the warring parties “to obey the voice of reason and wisdom, and to consider, with a little compassion and mercy, the hundreds of thousands of unarmed elderly, women, and children, and to prevent the further unfolding of a humanitarian catastrophe in the country.

“We also call on the international community to carry out its duty and help protect civilians in Sudan.”

El Fasher is the only capital of the five Darfur states that has not come not under control of the RSF. The RSF took control of Nyala, South Darfur, and Zalingei, Central Darfur, in end October. El Geneina, West Darfur, and Ed Daein, East Darfur, fell to the militia in November. Clashes sporadically took place in El Fasher, but community leaders, police officers, and civil society activists in the city managed to have the two warring parties agree to a truce more than once, since the war started in mid-April.

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