Sudan mired in violence as Burhan relieves Hemedti from deputy chief role

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Sudan’s capital Khartoum and sister city Bahri came under renewed air attack on Friday as the war between the army and paramilitary forces entered its fifth week, deepening a humanitarian crisis for trapped and displaced civilians.

Mass looting by armed men and civilians alike is making life an even greater misery for Khartoum residents pinned down by fierce fighting between the regular military and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), witnesses said.

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The conflict has displaced an estimated 843,000 people within Sudan and put around 250,000 to flight into neighboring countries, the United Nations refugee agency said on Friday.

Army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan took the long-anticipated step on Friday of removing RSF chief Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemedti, from his post as his deputy on the ruling Sovereign Council.

The two had run the council since 2019 when they overthrew strongman President Omar al-Bashir amid mass protests against his rule, before staging a coup in 2021 as a deadline neared to hand power to civilians for a transition towards free elections.

Fighting that erupted on April 15 between al-Burhan and Hemedti who commands the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces has killed more than 750 people and displaced thousands.

Burhan installed Malik Agar, leader of an armed group that had signed a peace agreement with the government in 2020, as Hemedti’s replacement.

Air strikes targeted districts in eastern Khartoum and witnesses reported hearing anti-aircraft weapons used by the RSF. Bahri and Sharg el-Nil across the Nile river from Khartoum were subjected to air strikes overnight and Friday morning.

Last week, US-Saudi mediated talks between the two sides in Jeddah made a slight breakthrough after signing an agreement that commits to protecting Sudanese civilians.

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Nearly 200,000 people have fled Sudan since fighting erupted in mid-April: UN

UN calls on international community to exert pressure to end Sudan violence

Saudi Arabia concludes Sudan humanitarian evacuation of citizens, foreigners

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