Residents in the Sudanese capital Khartoum woke up Monday to the sounds of artillery and bombardment by warplanes, as intense fighting continued for a third day and the death toll neared 100, with hundreds more injured.
Clashes first erupted Saturday between the country’s military and the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF), led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, who told CNN on Sunday the army had broken a UN-brokered temporary humanitarian ceasefire.
Eyewitnesses in Khartoum told CNN on Monday they heard mortars and artillery in the early hours of the morning, with the fighting intensifying after dawn prayers in the direction of Khartoum International Airport and Sudanese Army garrison sites.
Verified video footage shows military jets and helicopters hitting the airport; other clips show the charred remains of the army’s General Command building nearby after it was engulfed in fire on Sunday.
Residents in neighborhoods east of the airport told CNN they saw warplanes bombing sites east of the command. “We saw explosions and smoke rising from Obaid Khatim Street, and immediately after that, anti-aircraft artillery fired massively towards the planes,” one eyewitness said.
In the Kafouri area, north of Khartoum, clashes and street fights broke out at dawn Monday, prompting residents to begin evacuating women and children from the area, Sudanese journalist Fathi Al-Ardi wrote on Facebook. In the Kalakla area, south of the capital, residents reported the walls of their houses shaking from explosions.
Reports also emerged of battles hundreds of miles away in the eastern city of Port Sudan and the western Darfur region over the weekend.
As of Monday, at least 97 people have been killed, according to the Preliminary Committee of Sudanese Doctors trade union. Earlier on Sunday, the World Health Organization estimated more than 1,126 were injured.
The WHO has warned that doctors and nurses are struggling to reach people in need of urgent care, and are lacking essential supplies.
“Supplies distributed by WHO to health facilities prior to this recent escalation of conflict are now exhausted, and many of the nine hospitals in Khartoum receiving injured civilians are reporting shortages of blood, transfusion equipment, intravenous fluids, medical supplies, and other life-saving commodities,” the organization said on Sunday.
Water and power cuts are affecting the functionality of health facilities, and shortages of fuel for hospital generators are also being reported,” the WHO added.
In the CNN interview, Dagalo blamed the military for starting the conflict and claimed RSF “had to keep fighting to defend ourselves.”
He speculated that the army chief and his rival, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, had lost control of the military. When asked if his endgame was to rule Sudan, Dagalo said he had “no such intentions,” and that there should be a civilian government.
Amid the fighting, civilians have been warned to stay indoors. One local resident tweeted that they were “trapped inside our own homes with little to no protection at all.”
“All we can hear is continuous blast after blast. What exactly is happening and where we don’t know, but it feels like it’s directly over our heads,” they wrote.
Access to information is also limited, with the government-owned national TV channel now off the air. Television employees told CNN that it is in the hands of the RSF.