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Sudan: RSF paramilitary claim control of Roufaa, Wad Madani

Fighters of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) drive an armoured vehicle in southern Khartoum, on May 25, 2023.   -  
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Sudanese paramilitaries, at war with the army since April 15, seized Roufaa on Monday and made new incursions into the neighboring town of Wad Madani, both in the central-eastern state of al-Jazira, previously spared from hostilities, according to witnesses.

On Friday, fighting between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) spread to Wad Madani, 180 kilometers south of Khartoum, which had become a refuge for many displaced persons fleeing the fighting in the capital. As the fighting progressed, residents fled the area.

The capital of al-Jazira state, Wad Madani is home to more than 270,000 people in need of "aid", and has until now been a "humanitarian hub", according to the UN.

On Sunday, paramilitaries established a military base there, before seizing Roufaa, 40 km from Wad Madani, on Monday, witnesses told AFP.

The RSF took control of "the army headquarters, the police office and the hospital after a clash that lasted an hour", according to the same sources.

In a statement on X (formerly Twitter), the paramilitaries claimed to have taken control of, among other things, "the army's first infantry division in Wad Madani".

For its part, the army assured that "the security situation in al-Jazira state has stabilized", calling on residents "not to leave their homes".

On another front, this time in the vast western region of Darfur, a military source told AFP that the army had struck the airport of Nyala, Sudan's second-largest city, as well as the 16th Infantry Division buildings, which paramilitaries said they had captured in October.

The same source added that "the RSF's Al-Zurq base, the main supply center, was bombed".

The "Emergency Lawyers" collective said in a statement that a bombardment had "hit populated neighborhoods" on Monday, following another on Thursday carried out with "explosive barrels, killing 10 people and injuring 37 civilians".

The conflict between the head of the army, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane, and his deputy-turned-rival, General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo, head of the RSF, has left at least 12,000 people dead and more than six million displaced in this East African country, according to the UN.

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