Sudan conflict: Air strike kills at least 22 in Khartoum

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A Sudanese army air strike on the capital has killed at least 22 people and injured many others, eyewitnesses and an official have said.

Women and children were among the victims, the eyewitnesses said.

The airstrike hit the Dar es Salaam district of Omdurman, on the opposite bank of the Nile to the capital Khartoum, early on Saturday.

The army and a paramilitary force have been battling for control of the capital since April.

The conflict began after the head of the army, Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the head of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, fell out over the future of the country.

A Khartoum state health official, quoted by Reuters news agency, said at least 22 people had been killed in Saturday’s airstrike, while the RSF said the death toll was 31.

The paramilitary group added in a statement that the strike had “caused significant destruction to homes”.

The UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres said he was “appalled” by the violence and concerned that the conflict would become full-scale civil war, “potentially destabilising the entire region”. He called on both sides to cease fighting and protect civilians.

The RSF controls much of Khartoum and its twin cities of Omdurman and Bahri. The army has carried out frequent artillery and air attacks to try and dislodge the paramilitary fighters. But it is thought that Saturday’s strike could have resulted in one of the largest death tolls from a single attack.

Twelve weeks of conflict have left the civilian population in the capital terrified. Shops and markets are rarely open and almost all medical facilities have shut down.

Clashes have spread beyond the city, including to the western Darfur region which has seen an outbreak of ethnic violence.

Across the country, hundreds have been killed and almost three million people have been forced from their homes.

There have been partially-successful attempts to secure temporary ceasefires, but these have never lasted long.

East African regional bloc Igad is trying to re-start peace talks at a summit in Ethiopia on Monday.

But a spokesman for Gen Burhan said he would not attend the meeting.