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Khartum residents hostage to fighting, RSF claims control of airport

People walk past shuttered shops in Khartoum, Sudan, Monday, April 18, 2023.   -  
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Marwan Ali/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.


**Fighting between the Sudanese army and the powerful paramilitary unit RSF entered its 4th day.

The battle for the airport has been intense and on Tuesday (Apr. 18) the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces claimed their soldiers entered the key site.

Sharing videos on social media the forces says their soldiers are inside the grounds of Khartoum international airport.

Over the weekend, the warring sides have claimed to be in control of key infrastructure, including the airport and the presidential palace -- none of which could be independently verified.

"We live near to the airport which is in south Khartoum so we're literally at the heart of the clashes between the RSF (Rapid Support Forces) and the army," small business owner Dallia recounts.

The conflict that has seen air strikes, artillery and heavy gunfire leaving residents terrified and confined home during the last and holiest days of the Muslim month of Ramadan.

"We can't sleep, we haven't slept in the past four days and (we're) trying to catch a few naps here and there. It's not helping at all. We haven't left our house. They have been, they've been... I hear stories about other people being able to go out and buy necessities," the mother says.

More than 185 people have been killed and more than 1,800 wounded according to U.N. figures.

The overall death toll from the clashes between the two general's troops could be higher as the removal of bodies in some areas in Khartum is impossible.

While the nation has endured since independence decades of multiple bitter civil wars, coups and rebellions, Sudanese analyst Kholood Khair said the level of fighting inside the capital was "unprecedented".

"This is the first time in Sudan's history -- certainly in its independence history -- that there has been this level of violence in the centre, in Khartoum," she said.

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