Air raid kills 46 in one of Sudan war’s worst attacks: activists

Air strikes killed at least46 people and injured dozens Sunday at a Khartoum market, local activists said,one of the deadliest single attacks in Sudan’s nearly five months of war. The bombing in the south of Sudan’s capital came about a week after anotherair strike, also in southern Khartoum, killed 20 civilians on September 2,according to activists. The number of victims in Sunday’s “Qouro market massacre” had risen to 46by evening, said the local resistance committee, one of many groups that usedto organise pro-democracy protests and now provide assistance during the war. In its statement, the committee revised an earlier toll of 30 killed. Itadded there were “dozens wounded” and said casualties continued to pour intothe nearby Bashair hospital. “At about 7:15 am (0515 GMT), military aircraft bombarded the Qouro marketarea,” the committee said. The hospital had issued an “urgent appeal” for all medical professionals inthe area to come and help treat the “increasing number of injured peoplearriving”. A conservative estimate from the Armed Conflict Location & Event DataProject says nearly 7,500 people have been killed in the war that began onApril 15 between army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his former deputy,Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). In early July an air strike on a residential area of Omdurman, Khartoum’ssister city, killed around two dozen people and drew condemnation from theUnited Nations. – Millions uprooted – The armed forces control the skies over Khartoum, while RSF fighterscontinue to dominate the city’s streets.

The army has been accused of repeated indiscriminate shelling of theresidential areas where the paramilitaries have embedded themselves, includingby evicting families and taking over homes.

Positioning themselves in civilian occupied neighbourhoods and buildings is”a potential violation of the Geneva Conventions,” the US-supported SudanConflict Observatory has said.

It added that the Sudanese Armed Forces “would still be required to ensurethat civilian harm is minimised regardless of whether a target has been made alegitimate military target.”

On Sunday RSF accused the military of the “air strikes against civilians inthe south of Khartoum.”

The armed forces denied attacking the market, saying it “directs itsstrikes against rebel gatherings, crowds and bases as legitimate militarytargets, and fully adheres to international humanitarian law.”

In addition to the capital, fighting has been mainly been concentrated inthe western region of Darfur.

Western countries have accused the RSF and allied militias of killingsbased on ethnicity in Darfur, and the International Criminal Court has opened anew probe into alleged war crimes.

After months of combat, neither side has been able to seize a decisiveadvantage.

UN data show that around 2.8 million people have fled the Sudanese capital,whose pre-war population was around five million.

Those who cannot or refuse to leave Khartoum remain trapped by air strikes,artillery fire and street battles, forced to ration precious water andelectricity.

A total of more than five million people have been forced to flee theirhomes in Sudan, according to the UN, one million of them across borders.

In the early months of the war, truces brokered by the United States andSaudi Arabia were systematically violated before the two mediators adjournedtalks in June.

Recent moves by Burhan, including trips to Egypt, South Sudan and Qatar,signalled a potential return to diplomacy, though both he and Daglo continue totrade hostile statements.

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