Sudanese are terrified: ‘I fear a civil war’ 14:38 in Abroad "The two generals both want power and are both well armed. Both camps have killed civilians and are claiming power"says one resident.

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People in Khartoum, photo taken yesterday
NOS NewsAmended
  • Ellen van Gelder

    correspondent Africa

“The windows and doors are shaking from the firefights, so we try to stay away from that. The violence is very close,” says Sudanese Dallia Abdelmoniem on the phone from the capital Khartoum.

Since yesterday morning, fighting has been raging between the army and the paramilitary group RSF, Rapid Support Forces. It is about a power struggle between two generals who were jointly at the helm in Sudan. But in recent weeks, tensions in the African country have risen and friends have become enemies.

‘Didn’t sleep all night’

There are explosions and airstrikes, and civilians report a lot of shooting. “We holed up in the middle of the house with my parents, siblings and little nieces and nephews,” says Abdelmoniem, who works as a baker in town.

On Twitter she reports about the situation around her house, where she found this bullet:

“There are ten of us here and we haven’t slept all night. It’s horrible. We didn’t think it would escalate so violently and quickly.”

‘I can’t go to them’

That is also what 39-year-old Mudathir says, who was not at home when the fighting started yesterday morning. He was at the art gallery in Khartoum where he works when chaos and panic broke out. “I couldn’t go home anymore, it was crazy on the road. Bridges were closed.”

He is now hiding with a friend. “I am very worried about my family, my wife and three young children. They are about eighteen kilometers from here and my house is close to a military base. There were bombings there. But I can’t go to them.”

View images of the situation in Sudan here:

Heavy fighting in Khartoum and rest of Sudan

Ten-year-old Thirza from the Netherlands has also barely slept. Her parents work as aid workers in Khartoum. The family lives near the international airport, where there is heavy fighting.

“Everyone was tired this morning,” Thirza told NOS Jeugdjournaal, “because last night there were a lot of explosions. Even now it’s too dangerous to go outside, there are still fights.” To pass the time, they play games or watch TV at home.

Call to the Dutch

Dutch people in Sudan are urgently advised to stay indoors. The situation is very unsafe and unpredictable, Foreign Affairs writes in a message.

“We do not know how long this unsafe situation will last. Take into account a longer stay inside. Therefore, make an inventory of your food stock and other necessary resources. Be careful with this. You cannot leave the country. The airport is still closed.”


Countless civilians, like Mudathir, Abdelmoniem and Thirza, have been detained since Saturday morning. They shelter from the violence in homes, schools, mosques and other buildings. There are concerns about access to food and drinking water.

Dozens of civilians have been killed by shelling all over the country. Hospitals cannot cope with the influx of injured people, the Sudanese Red Cross reports. Victims are therefore also received and treated in other places.

Not enough food in the house

Sojoud Elgarrai, also in the capital, thinks that international pressure can make a difference and that the leaders will come to their senses. “There are many losses on both sides, hospitals have no place and insufficient medication and we, citizens, have not prepared ourselves and do not have enough food at home. This is unsustainable. I think reason will win.”

She is amazed that the fighting has entered a second day. “We thought the army would take control soon but we underestimated the RSF. We knew they were fighting but thought they would wait until after Ramadan to fight this out. But we were sorely wrong. Hopefully stop it soon.”

Both camps have killed civilians and are claiming power.

Dallia Abdelmoniem, resident of Khartoum.

Mudathir’s safe house is close to a military target, the army headquarters. “We don’t know exactly where the soldiers are. Maybe a hundred yards from here. We’re in a corner of the house. We hear artillery fire and fighter jets. It went on for much of the night.”

‘They are both well armed’

“Are you listening?” he asks. Even over the phone, the battles sound terrifyingly close. “I fear a civil war, but at the same time I think it can also be over because the army is better armed. We hope that this is the beginning of change. Sometimes that only comes after a difficult period.”

Abdelmoniem is less optimistic. “They both want power and are both well armed. Both camps have killed civilians and are claiming power. I don’t know if the international pressure will make a difference. We are incredibly concerned.”

  • Continued fighting in Sudan, UN suspends emergency aid
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  • Passenger plane shot at Khartoum airport, KLM avoids Sudan airspace
  • Combat group Sudan and army claim capture of presidential palace, at least 3 dead
  • Abroad

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