Explosions rocked the Sudanese capital Khartoum Monday as fighting between the regular army and powerful rival paramilitaries raged for a third day with the death toll rising to nearly 200.
The violence erupted Saturday after weeks of power struggles between Sudan’s army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
The raging battles triggered a wide international outcry with appeals for an immediate ceasefire and dialogue.
Over 1,800 wounded since the fighting erupted, U.N. envoy Volker Perthes told reporters. The two sides are using tanks, artillery and other heavy weapons in densely populated areas. Fighter jets swooped overhead and anti-aircraft fire lit up the skies as darkness fell.
Both sides claimed to control key sites in Khartoum, where residents sheltered from explosions.
The two sides held a brief ceasefire on Sunday to allow the wounded to be evacuated, although it was not clear how strictly they stuck to it.
On Monday, clouds of smoke were visible above Khartoum’s main airport, with TV showing images of fires and explosions. Army air strikes targeted RSF bases, some of which are embedded in residential areas.
The fighting is between army units loyal to the de facto leader, Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the RSF, a notorious paramilitary force commanded by Sudan’s deputy leader, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemedti.
He said on Monday that the international community must intervene, and branded Gen Burhan “a radical Islamist who is bombing civilians from the air”. Gen Burhan has said he is willing to negotiate.
Alarmed neighbours Kenya, South Sudan and Djibouti are planning to send their presidents to help mediate in the crisis, however this is not currently possible because the airport is closed.
The US, EU and UK have called for an immediate end to the fighting.