Heavy air raids and looting reported in central Khartoum as truce talks in Jeddah target a short-term ceasefire.
Here is the situation on Wednesday, May 10, 2023:
- Residents of Sudan’s capital reported heavy air raids in central Khartoum on Tuesday amid a surge in looting.
- Witnesses said the army unleashed intense air bombardment in the centre of Khartoum and around the presidential palace. The rival Rapid Support Forces (RSF) said the palace, which the paramilitary force claims to control, was destroyed by an air attack, but an army source denied the claim.
- Lawlessness has taken hold in Khartoum and the two adjoining cities of Omdurman and Khartoum North, witnesses said. “The biggest danger is the spread of robbery and looting and the total absence of the police and the law,” said Ahmed Saleh, 45, from Khartoum North.
- Homes, shops and warehouses have all been targeted, residents said. Sudan’s Banks Union condemned burglary and vandalism at some branches, saying banks were seeking to restore services if conditions allowed.
- The fighting in Khartoum, which erupted on April 15, has made hundreds of thousands of people flee their homes and triggered an aid crisis. The number of people internally displaced within Sudan more than doubled in a week to 700,000, the UN’s migration agency said.
- The World Health Organization on Tuesday raised the confirmed death toll in the conflict to more than 600, with 5,000 injured, though the true figure is thought to be much higher.
- In a phone call with Sudan’s army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country is ready to host comprehensive talks for Sudan if the stakeholders agree.
- The two forces, which have failed to abide by repeated truce deals, sent representatives to talks in the Saudi port city of Jeddah on Saturday.
- In the first report on the talks thus far, the Saudi foreign ministry said on Tuesday that the negotiations aimed to reach “an effective short-term ceasefire”, Saudi state TV Al-Ekhbariya said.
- UN aid chief Martin Griffiths proposed the warring parties back a declaration guaranteeing safe passage of aid supplies and the proposal has been discussed in Jeddah, a UN spokesperson said.
- Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday the US will not give up the goal of putting Sudan back on track to civilian democratic governance, adding that Washington is working in Jeddah for a ceasefire and agreement on humanitarian aid.
- Al-Burhan said in a phone interview with an Egyptian TV station on Monday that the talks in Jeddah were aimed at relieving pressure on civilians, not at any political settlement.