Clashes in Sudan have killed almost 100 people

By Sana Noor Haq and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 10:48 a.m. ET, April 17, 2023
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10:05 a.m. ET, April 17, 2023

Doctors' organizations say army's targeted hospital attacks are "breach of international humanitarian law"

From CNN's Nima Elbagir

Doctors' organizations in Sudan say hospitals are being bombarded with military strikes in targeted attacks, as clashes between the army and a paramilitary group ramp up for the third day.

The Sudan Doctors Trade Union has identified at least half a dozen hospitals that have been struck, though exact information is difficult to come by.

A spokesperson for the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors told CNN on Monday that “warring parties” were responsible for the strikes.

“We are receiving messages that there are victims,” the spokesperson said. “Those who are dead and injured, since the morning of the outbreak of the war, and there is no way to bury them or treat them, the bodies have begun to decompose.”

“These are the conditions of war,” the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors spokesperson said. “Before targeting hospitals, we pointed out before targeting hospitals for their use as military bases.”

The Central Committee of Sudan Doctors warned in a statement that the striking of hospitals and using them to house the military was “a crime against humanity, values ​​and morals – all treaties and covenants prohibit their violation” – and the Sudan Doctors Trade Union called it a “clear breach of international humanitarian law.”

“For the second day in a row, amid the absurd and bloody fighting between the People's Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces, there is a large number of deaths and moderate and critical injuries,” the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors said in a statement posted overnight.

Meanwhile, both the Sudanese military and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) denied in comments to CNN that they are striking medical facilities.

A spokesperson for the RSF told CNN in a statement that the group “will never go against medical facilities or hospitals,” calling them “lies” spread by the country’s military.

Sudan’s military has also denied to CNN that it is striking hospitals, and called on the RSF to remove their forces from all civilian areas.

9:13 a.m. ET, April 17, 2023

Sudanese doctors union says several hospitals in multiple cities are out of service

From CNN’s Celine Alkhaldi 

A Sudanese doctors union said Monday that several hospitals and health institutions around the country are out of service, as fierce clashes between the country's army and paramilitary forces escalate.

Hospitals and health institutions in Khartoum and other cities in Sudan were bombed with artillery and firearms,” the Sudanese Doctors Syndicate said in a statement.

In the capital, Al-Sha’ab Teaching Hospital, Ibn Sina Specialized Hospital and Bashayer Hospital have all “sustained severe damage due to clashes and mutual shelling between the army and the RSF,” the statement added. 

Al-Sha’ab Teaching Hospital, Khartoum Teaching Hospital and the Police Hospital are all “completely out of service” due to shelling, the statement said. 

North of Khartoum, the International Hospital is suffering from power outages, the statement said, adding that electricity generators “are about to run out of fuel.”

In the southern Sudanese city of El-Obeid, Al-Daman Hospital was shut down “after it was stormed by the armed forces.

The shelling is a clear violation of international humanitarian law and the charters that stipulate the protection of health institutions,” the statement added.
9:25 a.m. ET, April 17, 2023

"The smell of death is everywhere," Sudanese doctor tells CNN as hospitals come under military attack

From CNN's Nima Elbagir

Hospitals in Sudan are being targeted with military strikes by both the Sudanese Army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), according to eyewitness accounts to CNN and two doctors’ organizations, leaving medical personnel unable to reach the wounded and unable to bury the dead.

“From 9 am Saturday when the fighting started, we were being targeted,” one doctor at a Khartoum hospital – whom CNN is not naming for security reasons – said. “A direct strike hit the maternity ward. We could hear heavy weaponry and lay on the floor, along with our patients. The hospital itself was under attack.”

CNN has reached out to the Sudanese military and the RSF for comment.

Another doctor at the same al-Moallem Hospital told CNN that hospital staff stayed on site under bombardment from the RSF for two days, before being evacuated by the Sudanese military.

“We were living in a real battle,” the second doctor said. “Can you believe that we left the hospital and left behind children in incubators and patients in intensive care without any medical personnel? I can't believe that I survived dying at the hospital, where the smell of death is everywhere.”

A third doctor with whom CNN spoke said that staff “were evacuated on foot under the hail of bullets.”

“Although I live in Khartoum, there is no way for me to go to my family's house, where the battles are intensifying in the center and south of Khartoum.”

9:13 a.m. ET, April 17, 2023

For Muslims observing Ramadan, Sudan clashes disrupt holy celebrations

From CNN's Celine Alkhaldi

Duaa Osman's husband was fasting when clashes broke out between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary over the weekend. Dozens were killed and hundreds more were injured in the attacks.

The Muslim mother-of-four was observing the Islamic holy month of Ramadan with her family, as tensions boiled over between Sudan’s military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.

“We have some food stored and are trying to do with what we have for now. We got lucky. There are some who have it far worse," Osman, who lives just north of the capital Khartoum, tells CNN.

“We’re stuck at home, so surely this affects our ability to gather for Ramadan.” 

After negotiations broke down amid a longstanding power struggle between both sides, Osman worries that the fierce clashes will disrupt Ramadan celebrations for her and many other Muslims across Sudan, in the run-up to Eid al-Fitr.

During the month, Muslims are encouraged to hydrate and eat a balanced meal before sunrise and then break their fast with a date and water at sunset, followed by a larger meal. 

But Osman says the clashes mean it is difficult to gather food and drink for iftar -- the breaking of the fast after sundown.

“We don’t have access to water. It's been out for two days. It's really hard when you don’t have access to water while taking care of kids," she adds.

Osman, who is breastfeeding her 3-month-old baby girl, says she is worried she will run out of milk.

“It’s really hard when you don’t have access to water while taking care of kids. I’m really scared I am going to run out of milk. There’s no way we can get to a supermarket."

CNN's Sana Noor Haq contributed reporting.

10:48 a.m. ET, April 17, 2023

Sheltering civilians in Khartoum endure water cuts, medicine shortages and stray projectiles

From CNN’s Mostafa Salem, Celine Alkhaldi and Noon Salih

People walk past shuttered shops in Khartoum, Sudan, on Monday, April 17.
People walk past shuttered shops in Khartoum, Sudan, on Monday, April 17. (Marwin Ali/AP)

The residents of Sudan's capital, Khartoum, are taking refuge in their homes as fighting between forces loyal to military leaders vying for control of the city intensified Monday.  

Across Khartoum, shops and gas stations have closed their doors while power and water disruptions caused severe shortages across the capital and adjacent cities.

One citizen told CNN that a projectile struck their home early Monday, damaging the wall and leaving family members worried for their lives. Other photographs shared with CNN showed a large hole in the wall of a bedroom in a house in Al Riyadh neighborhood after a projectile hit Saturday.

Patients and doctors were injured after a projectile struck the Al Sha’ab teaching hospital, two doctors told CNN. Artillery fire put Al Sha’ab and Khartoum teaching hospitals “completely out of service,” as medical staff, patients, children and their companions remained “in a state of panic and fear,” the doctors union said. 

Sudanese woman, Amal Abdallah, 28, who resides in the United States and is in Khartoum to spend time with her family, said she is now sheltering at her family residence while everything is “collapsing.” 

“The artillery was really, really heavy these past three days, we can hear planes by our house and gunfire,” Abdallah told CNN. 

Abdallah and her mother are both asthmatic and said they will soon run out of medicine supplies.

My inhaler is about to finish and I do not know if I can get supply or not, the gunfire is just too much outside,” Abdallah said.

Duaa Osman, a mother-of-four who is currently breastfeeding her 3-month-old baby, says she and her family have been stuck at home with no water for two days trying to hide the sound of gunfire from her frightened children.

“The sounds of bullets and artillery over our head is terrifying. I try to increase the volume on the TV as much as possible to distract my kids but … there’s no way to cover up those sounds at 5 a.m. in the morning.”

7:08 a.m. ET, April 17, 2023

Sudan’s national state television returns to air, says army in control of channel

From CNN’s Mostafa Salem

Sudan’s national state television channel is back on air a day after going dark and is broadcasting messages in support of the army, as fierce clashes between the country's military and paramilitary forces intensify.

A banner on the channel said the "armed forces were able to regain control of the national broadcaster after repeated attempts by the militias to destroy its infrastructure.”

Although the army appears to have control of the television signal, CNN cannot independently verify that it is physically in charge of the Sudan TV premises.

Dozens of civilians have been killed and hundreds more injured, after fighting between sides supporting Sudan’s military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and RSF commander Mohamed Hamdan escalated over the weekend.

6:40 a.m. ET, April 17, 2023

Sudanese army calls on RSF fighters to defect and join its ranks

From CNN's Mostafa Salem

Sudan’s army has called on fighters of the opposing paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) to defect and join the armed forces instead in their violent struggle for power.

“We call on all our countrymen from the Rapid Support Forces, who have provided their country with great and undeniable previous services, to join the proud armed forces to serve their country among its ranks,” a statement from the military said.

The Sudanese armed forces said RSF troops are serving the “goals and agenda of one person,” in reference to paramilitary leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.

“We assure our honorable people that the leadership of the armed forces will remain committed to its covenant ... and will not back down from the implementation of the political path,” the statement added.

Tensions between Sudan’s military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and RSF commander Dagalo boiled over recently, during negotiations over future civilian rule in the country.

6:31 a.m. ET, April 17, 2023

Paramilitary leader says he will pursue Sudan's army chief to "bring him to justice"

From CNN's Mostafa Salem

Rapid Support Forces (RSF) leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo is pictured speaking in Khartoum in December 2022.
Rapid Support Forces (RSF) leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo is pictured speaking in Khartoum in December 2022. (Ashraf Shazly/AFP/Getty Images)

The leader of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the Sudanese group fighting against the country's military, has said he will pursue the head of the armed forces "and bring him to justice."

Forces loyal to the two rival generals are vying for control in Sudan and have intensified fighting across different cities in the country.

“We are fighting against radical Islamists who hope to keep Sudan isolated and in the dark, and far removed from democracy. We will continue to pursue (military chief Abdel Fattah) Al-Burhan and bring him to justice,” RSF leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, said on Twitter.

“We did not attack anyone. Our actions are merely a response to the siege and assault against our forces. We are fighting for the people of Sudan to ensure the democratic progress, for which they have so long yearned," he added.

Hemedti and military leader Burhan, who were once allies, are now caught in a power struggle over who will be subordinate under a potential new hierarchy of civilian rule.

Their conflict has wrought death and destruction upon the civilian population in Sudan.

6:04 a.m. ET, April 17, 2023

Rival generals are battling for control in Sudan. Here’s a guide to the fighting

By CNN's Nima Elbagir, Tamara Qiblawi and Amarachi Orie

Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), left, and Sudan’s military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.
Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), left, and Sudan’s military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. (Getty Images)

A struggle for power between forces loyal to two rival generals has sparked fierce fighting in Sudan, killing dozens and injuring hundreds of civilians.

Until recently, Sudan’s military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, were allies.

They collaborated to depose ousted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in 2019 and played a key role in the 2021 military coup.

But tensions brew during negotiations to fold the RSF into the country's military as part of plans to restore civilian rule.

The key question: who would be subordinate to who under the new hierarchy.

These hostilities, sources told CNN, are the culmination of what both parties view as an existential fight for dominance.

Read the full story here: