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Sudan extends airspace closure until 15 August amid conflict

Sudan extends airspace closure until 15 August as fighting between rival factions continues to rage
2 min read
31 July, 2023
Sudan has extended the closure of its civilian airspace until 15 August as the conflict which broke out in the country in April showed no signs of ending
Clashes have raged in Sudan since April this year [Getty]

The Sudanese Civil Aviation Authority said early on Monday that the closure of civilian airspace will be extended until 15 August, according to the official Sudanese news agency and Reuters.

An exception will be granted to flights for humanitarian and evacuation purposes, provided that permission is obtained from the relevant authorities.

The move was announced by Khartoum International Airport, which has been closed ever since conflict broke out on April 15 between forces loyal to the Sudanese army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), lead by Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.

In the early days of the conflict, several airliners, including a Saudia Airbus A330 and aUkrainian SkyUp Boeing 737-800, were burned and destroyed.

The Sudanese army accused Daglo's RSF of responsibility.

Sudanese airspace has been closed  since the conflict in the country broke out three months ago. Thousands of people have been killed since then.

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Preliminary data suggests that at least 3,000 civilians have been killed so far in the conflict.

RSF affiliated forces have been accused by witnesses and activists of committing "ethnic cleansing" in West Darfur.

Over 3 million people have been internally displaced by the conflict, with hundreds of thousands fleeing to neighbouring countries such as Chad, Ethiopia and Egypt.

The conflict was triggered by a power struggle between Burhan and Daglo following a dispute over the integration of the RSF with the Sudanese army. Daglo, also known as Hemedti, was al-Burhan’s second-in-command.

On Sunday, AFP quoted witnesses as saying that the RSF had ordered civilians to evacuate their homes in the capital's southern neighbourhoods of Jabra and Sahafa, as fighting continued to rage.

The neighbourhoods are home to the army artillery corps, as well as an RSF base used by Daglo.

Clashes were also reported in the South Darfur town of Nyala, as bombs were reportedly dropped on civilian homes.

The conflict, which passed 100 days on 24 July, has been condemned by much of the international community, who have called for the fighting to end.

Reuters and other agencies contributed to this report.