Heavy fighting between rival army and paramilitary camps has continued in Sudan. In the power struggle that has been raging for three days between the Sudanese army under the command of the Sudanese general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the rival paramilitary units of his deputy Mohammed Hamdan Daglo, the fronts have hardened further. The number of civilian casualties is likely to continue to rise on Tuesday.

The Sudanese Medical Committee called on the parties to the conflict on Monday to end their “continuous attacks” on hospitals, ambulances and medical staff. The German UN mediator Volker Perthes criticized that international organizations and civilians were not protected in the skirmishes between the army and the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The United Nations assumed at least 185 dead and 1,800 injured by Monday evening – including both combatants and civilians.

Fighting in many parts of the country

According to Perthes, fierce fighting continued in the capital Khartoum around the closed bridges, the international airport and the headquarters of the military and the RSF. According to Amnesty International, the use of heavy weapons, including artillery, tanks and jet aircraft, wreaked havoc in densely populated areas of Khartoum. Amnesty said civilians were trapped in the middle of the battlefield. In view of the confusing situation and the contradictory information provided by both parties to the conflict, it remained unclear who had the upper hand in the power struggle between the rival camps.

Residents in the capital Khartoum reported sustained gunfire and explosions. But fighting also continued in other parts of the country on the Horn of Africa – for example in the city of Merowe, which has an important airport, and in the city of Njala in Darfur. The governor of North Darfur, Nimr Abdul Rahman, told the German Press Agency on Monday evening that at least 65 people had been killed and 160 others injured in his region alone. Electricity and water supplies have been disrupted in parts of North Darfur due to the violence, Rahman said.

International community seeks ceasefire

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to both Al-Burhan and Daglo on Monday evening (local time), according to his ministry. He made clear the urgency of a ceasefire to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid and the reunification of Sudanese families – and to give the international community in Khartoum the opportunity to secure its presence. Blinken appealed to the two generals’ responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of civilians, diplomatic personnel and humanitarian workers.

UN mediator Perthes stressed that he would try again on Tuesday to negotiate a resilient ceasefire between the conflicting parties. In talks with their leaders, both sides blamed each other for the escalation. According to him, Al-Burhan and Daglo are under a lot of pressure. However, Perthes emphasized that they were open to talks with the United Nations and other international actors.

The EU is also trying to convince the conflicting parties to consider a humanitarian ceasefire, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Monday evening. He did not give details of the peace efforts. At noon, a spokeswoman had already reported on Borrel’s crisis talks with top politicians from Kenya, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

Three East African presidents and a representative of the African Union are to travel to Khartoum as mediators. Due to the ongoing fighting, which was also fought at the international airport in Khartoum, this has not been possible so far.

Attack on EU ambassadors

According to Borrell, the EU ambassador to Sudan was attacked in his own residence. The act represents a serious violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the EU foreign policy representative wrote on Twitter. The security of diplomatic facilities and staff is primarily the responsibility of the Sudanese authorities and is an obligation under international law. Borrell did not provide any information on the type of attack and the perpetrator or perpetrators. He also left it unclear whether the ambassador was injured or escaped with a fright. In the evening in Brussels, diplomatic circles said the ambassador was fine and had not been injured.

The power struggle in Sudan is increasingly causing chaos in Africa’s third largest country in terms of area, with around 46 million inhabitants and rich oil and gold deposits. The broadcaster Sky News reported that Al-Burhan signaled willingness to talk in a telephone interview on Monday. “Every war ends in negotiations, even if the opponent is defeated,” he said accordingly. The army will win – “definitely, God willing”. However, Al-Burhan did not provide any specific information about possible negotiations.