Clashes escalated in parts of Sudan on Sunday, the 100th day of the civil war, and attempts by regional and international forces to mediate have been unable to find a way out of a conflict that has become increasingly unwieldy.
Fighting erupted on April 15 as the military and the militia’s Rapid Support Force (RSF) battled for power, and since then more than three million people have been displaced, including more than 700,000 who have fled to neighboring countries.
About 1,136 people have died so far, according to the Ministry of Health, but officials believe the number is higher.
Neither the Army nor the RSF can emerge victorious, and on the ground in the capital, Khartoum, the RSF’s superiority matches the firepower of the Army’s air force and artillery fire.
The capital’s infrastructure and government have collapsed, and fighting has spread to the west, particularly into the vulnerable Darfur region, and into the south, where rebels SPLM-N are trying to seize territory.
Over the weekend, the RSF moved to villages in Gezira state, just south of Khartoum, where the army conducted airstrikes, according to eyewitnesses.
Clashes have continued in a residential area since Thursday in Nyala, one of the country’s largest cities and the capital of South Darfur state, according to eyewitnesses. At least 20 people have died, medical officials said. The United Nations announced that 5,000 families had been displaced. Residents said major facilities were looted.
“Bullets are flying into our house. We are scared, but no one is protecting us,” said 35-year-old Salah Abdallah.
The fighting has turned into an ethnically targeted attack by Arab militias and the RSF in West Darfur, from which hundreds of thousands have fled to Chad.
Residents also accused RSF soldiers of looting and occupying large areas of the capital. RSF said it would investigate.
The two countries have shown willingness to mediation efforts led by regional and international actors, but have failed to reach a continuation of the ceasefire.
Both sides sent delegations to try to resume talks in Jeddah that resulted in the often-breached ceasefire.
But Sudan’s foreign minister said on Friday that indirect talks had not begun in earnest.
Military and RSF leaders, who have headed a joint council since the ouster of Omar al-Bashir in 2019, have been divided over plans for a transition to democracy.
In recent days, private political groups as well as the RSF have accused the military of turning a blind eye to the emergence of wanted Bashir supporters.
A major civil coalition, the Forces for Freedom and Change, announced on Sunday that it would hold a meeting in Egypt to step up as mediators in the conflict.
(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz, Dubai; Nafisa Eltahil, Cairo; Mohamed Nurelddin Abdallah, Khartoum; edited by Nick McPhee)