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Hundreds dead, thousands of hearts broken: report by Sudanese journalist

No facilities, no basic necessities. Just unburied corpses found lying in the streets. Those are the realities of war. Many places in the world are, sadly, no strangers to such sights. And these are the sights people of Khartoum, no backwater but one of Africa’s largest capitals, see daily.

“My city, Khartoum, is no stranger to protests and unrest, but it has long been insulated from war,” writes Mohammed Amin, a freelance Sudanese journalist specializing in geopolitics and human rights abuses in Sudan and South Sudan, in an article published by

“Yet since April 15, millions have been stuck in the middle of a battle between Sudan’s most powerful generals. The battle is destroying one of Africa’s largest capitals,” he continues.

“This is not Kabul or Mogadishu, it is not even Darfur or another warzone in Sudan,” Ahmed Elmamoun, a pro-democracy activist, told Amin. “This is Khartoum, believe it or not.”

“In the streets around Khartoum international airport, corpses of soldiers were stranded for more than 24 hours until an army vehicle came and took them,” he said.

A word of explanation to our readers: Islam prescribes that bodies be buried as swiftly as possible, preferably within 24 hours from death.

There are exceptions for special situations. Like war. In this case, a civil war.

Yet, leaving bodies of dead soldiers who were slain in combat to rot in the streets for more than 24 hours is something Elmamoun was appalled enough to mention, and Amin found it newsworthy enough to write about.

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International mediators have arranged for a 72-hour-truce between the Rapid Support Force (RSF) paramilitaries and the army. But explosions and shots continue to resound through the city’s abandoned streets as the Sun rises over a capital that has been cast into darkness by the fighting.

It has been less than two weeks since the boiling point was passed and the two sides lunged at each others’ throats. Within that short timeframe, hundreds have already lost their lives. At least nine of them are children, according to UNICEF.

Their deaths are incomprehensible to their parents, as attested by what one father who lost his son told Amin.

“I am a normal citizen and have no trouble with anybody,” Nadir Jubara told him.

His son, Wafi, was seven years old. He was killed on the fourth day of the civil war. His father witnessed his child’s death. A bomb dropped from an army airplane struck the car Nadir was driving.

The intended target was the RSF fighters, Jubara himself believes. But, as he said, the strike was done in a “random” way.

“Why did I lose my son in this meaningless power struggle between al-Burhan and Hemedti?” the bereaved father asks, referring to the commanders of the two rival factions.

This is just one tragic story Amin gathered while interviewing the residents of Khartoum.

Who suffers the most?

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Anyone who can leave the city does so. Civilians are escaping from the capital in search of safety in all directions.

But, as usual, in situations like this, being able to reach safety quickly becomes a pricey commodity. As Amin reports, “transport costs are rising fast and cash is scarce.”

During a brief truce on Thursday last week those who could afford it stocked up on food, water, and medication.

“But poorer people in this already expensive city have been left to their fate,” Amin reports. The plight of the poor is not helped by the fact that the RSF has planted itself in residential areas, and the army is not hesitant to bomb their positions using the air force. The result is as described earlier: tragic.

Grassroots help

There is hope because there is help. But the help needs to be organized by the Sudanese themselves.

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“Mutual aid networks, including resistance committees – the neighborhood activist groups at the forefront of pro-democracy protests – have been organizing assistance and helping people escape frontline areas,” Amin reports.

But it is still very little in the face of the massive needs. Hospitals are particularly affected. Medicine, staff, and power are in short supply, as Amin learned from Sara Mohamed, a member of the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors.

“They [hospitals] are on the brink of collapse and have called for urgent intervention from international humanitarian organizations.”

Worse still, some facilities have come under fire, as they have been taken over by RSF fighters. This happened as early as the second day of fighting.

Mustafa Ahmed, a Khartoum doctor, told Amin that the RSF “have expelled patients and told medics to start treating their fighters”.

“So far, they are occupying the hospital,” Ahmed explained. “Its location is strategic for them, near where they also have an important camp and are continuing to fight the army.”

Unless the situation gets better soon, it will get worse, much worse, Amin fears. And there will be more tragedies like those experienced by the Juraba family.

“These days, at the end of Ramadan, when God listens to everybody, I ask God to bring my rights because my heart has been broken,” Nadir Juraba, the father of the 7-year-old Wafi, told Amin.

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