Sudan RSF paramilitaries press assault on key army base

Sudan RSF paramilitaries press assault on key army base
Fierce fighting at the military base south of Khartoum between the RSF and the Sudanese army continued for the fourth day
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Fighting in the Sudanese capital Khartoum has killed hundreds of civilians [Getty]

Sudanese paramilitaries fought the regular army in Khartoum on Thursday as they targeted a key military base in the south of the capital for the fourth consecutive day, witnesses said.

Fighters from Mohamed Hamdan Daglo's Rapid Support Forces (RSF) began their assault on the vast strategic base on several fronts on Sunday.

Residents of Al-Shajara, the neighbourhood where the base is situated, reported "large losses on both sides" on the first day of the attack when the fighting was constant.

"This is the longest the fighting has lasted in Al-Shajara," said one.

The army led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has put out several statements and videos saying it has repelled the RSF attacks.

But the paramilitaries said that since early Wednesday the RSF had "taken control of nearly the entire camp, with only a few minor areas still under contention".

Both sides post regular videos online showing what they say is their men inside the base, but it is not possible to independently verify which force holds which perimeter.

Each side has in the past claimed to have taken strongholds in Khartoum while they are in fact still fighting for them, as was the case with the army headquarters and the presidential palace.

The war between the rival generals and erstwhile allies erupted on April 15, and conservative estimates from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data project are that nearly 5,000 people have been killed since then.

It has proved impossible to estimate a reliable toll as both sides refuse to reveal their losses and many of the conflict areas, such as the vast Darfur region in the west, have had their communications with the outside world severed.

The bodies of many people caught in crossfire have also not been able to be recovered.

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According to United Nations figures, in the four months since the fighting broke out more than four million people have had to flee their homes.

UN coordinator for humanitarian affairs Martin Griffiths late Tuesday again pleaded for both parties to stop fighting so aid could get through.

In a joint appeal on August 15, the heads of 20 global organisations had warned that "more than six million Sudanese people are one step away from famine".