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Fighting still rages on in Sudan as thousands flee

A picture taken on June 16, 2023, shows a covered body across from a miliatry armoured vehicle on a street in the West Darfur state capital El Geneina   -  
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At least 12 civilians were killed on Sunday in bombardments by soldiers and paramilitaries who are now clashing in a new town in Darfur, a vast region in western Sudan that is constantly being fled by refugees.

"The first provisional toll is 12 civilians killed in Nyala," the capital of South Darfur, a doctor in the town told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"But we know that some people were killed or wounded before they could reach a hospital, as the violence of the fighting is preventing people from moving around," he explained.

Since April 15, the war between the army led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo has left more than 2,800 people dead, according to the NGO Acled, and more than 2.5 million displaced and refugees, according to the UN.

One of the heaviest tolls is undoubtedly that of El-Geneina, the capital of West Darfur, where since the end of April, tribal fighters and civilians have mingled in fighting between the military and paramilitaries.

According to the UN, there have been "1,100 deaths" in this town, and above all abuses that could constitute "crimes against humanity".

In the dirt streets of El-Geneina, corpses hastily covered with clothes lay in the scorching sun, while the curtains of stores are down or have been ripped open by looters.

In the midst, cohorts of families flee, dodging bullets along the thirty kilometers or so that separate them from neighboring Chad. Nearly 160,000 people have already fled there to escape the war in Sudan.

- Khartoum bombed -

On the other side of the border, in Adré, they pile up under tarpaulins stretched over cut branches or form long queues to obtain water or food.

In all, 2.2 million people are displaced within Sudan, while half a million others have left the country.

The UN and humanitarian organizations are working hard to help these families, who left in a hurry, often without being able to take anything with them from their homes, most of which are now occupied by paramilitaries.

But funds are in short supply. At a conference in Geneva, the UN raised only half of what it needed. NGOs, for their part, criticize Sudanese bureaucracy for blocking their cargoes in the Red Sea port of Port Sudan, or refusing to issue visas or travel permits to their teams.

For a long time, Americans and Saudis negotiated truces to help them move around. But since Wednesday, Washington has thrown in the towel. Negotiations between emissaries from both sides never really got underway and, more importantly, while negotiations stalled, troops from both sides repositioned themselves.

The army stepped up its air raids on Khartoum. The RSF are stepping up artillery barrages on army and police bases. And both sides are announcing new offensives every day.

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