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Airstrikes hit Sudan’s capital as truce enters final hours, leaving 512 dead and 4,193 injured

Sudan’s army attacked paramilitary forces in the capital Khartoum on Thursday, while deadly fighting erupted in Darfur as a fragile US-brokered ceasefire entered its final hours.

Before the three-day ceasefire expired at midnight (2200 GMT), the military announced late on Wednesday that it had agreed to talks in neighboring South Sudan to extend it “at the initiative of IGAD”, the East African regional bloc.

Since fighting broke out on April 15 between the Sudanese army led by General Abdal Fattah al-Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Force (RSF), commanded by his deputy-turned-rival Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, there have been several attempts at a ceasefire. They all failed.

Fighting continues despite a US-brokered ceasefire that took effect on Tuesday, with warplanes patrolling the skies over the capital’s northern suburbs while fighters on the ground exchanged artillery and heavy machine gun fire, witnesses said.

Burhan on Wednesday agreed to IGAD’s proposal for talks to extend the ceasefire for another 72 hours, the military added. RSF’s response to the proposal remains unclear.

At least 512 people have been killed and 4,193 injured in the fighting, according to the Ministry of Health, although the actual death toll is likely to be much higher.

Despite the ceasefire, the doctors’ union said at least eight civilians were killed in Khartoum alone on Wednesday. More than two-thirds of the country’s hospitals were out of service, the union said Thursday, including 14 hit during the fighting.

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Violence beyond Khartoum in sudan

Fighting has also flared up in the provinces, particularly in the war-torn western region of Darfur. Witnesses said clashes raged in the West Darfur capital of El Geneina for a second day, with pro-democracy medics reporting that a doctor had been shot dead.

“We are locked at home and too afraid to go out, so we cannot estimate the extent of the damage,” said the resident, who asked to remain anonymous for his safety.

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Violence trapped many civilians in their homes Sudan

The UN humanitarian agency said on Wednesday that fighting in West Darfur had disrupted food supplies for “an estimated 50,000 acutely malnourished children”. The violence trapped many civilians in their homes, where they suffered severe shortages of food, water and electricity.

Those who can afford to make the long and risky journey to flee the country. Egypt said on Thursday that at least 14,000 Sudanese refugees, as well as 2,000 people from 50 other countries, had crossed the border into the country since the fighting broke out.

“End the war,” 50-year-old refugee Ashraf told warring generals after entering Egypt. “This is your own conflict, not the conflict of the Sudanese people. The UN has warned that up to 270,000 people could flee to Sudan’s impoverished neighbors of South Sudan and Chad, and thousands have also fled to Ethiopia.

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The escape of a war crimes suspect in Sudan

Foreign governments have scrambled to get thousands of their citizens out, but some have warned that their evacuation efforts depend on a relative lull in the fighting. British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly urged Britons and their relatives in Sudan to take advantage of evacuation flights while they are still available.

A Saudi evacuation ship docked at the Red Sea port of Jeddah on Thursday with 187 Sudanese evacuees from 25 countries, including the United States, Russia and Turkey, the Saudi Foreign Ministry said.

It was the eighth such crossing organized by Saudi Arabia since the fighting began and brought the total number of evacuees to the kingdom to 2,544, including only 119 Saudis, the ministry said.

As lawlessness gripped Sudan, there have been several jailbreaks, including from the high-security Kober prison, where top aides to ousted dictator Omar al-Bashir were held. Among those who have fled is Ahmed Harun, wanted by the International Criminal Court to face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in Darfur.

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