KHARTOUM, APRIL 17, 2023 (AGENCIES) — Sudan’s military leader condemned what he called an “attempted coup” after a day of intense fighting left close to 100 people dead in the country and saw hospitals coming under attack from missiles as they battled to save lives.
Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who is involved in a bloody tussle for power that has gripped Sudan for three days, told CNN that the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF) is leading “an attempted coup and rebellion against the state.”
Clashes first erupted Saturday between the country’s military and the RSF, led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, who told CNN on Sunday the army had broken a UN-brokered temporary humanitarian ceasefire.
Burhan, who alongside Dagalo ousted Sudan’s long-time leader Omar al-Bashir in 2019 and played a key role in the military coup two years later, said his former ally had “mutinied” against the state, and if captured, would be tried in court of law.
On Monday, residents in the capital Khartoum endured sounds of artillery and bombardment by warplanes with eyewitnesses telling CNN they heard mortars in the early hours. The fighting intensifying after dawn prayers in the direction of Khartoum International Airport and Sudanese Army garrison sites.
Hospitals in the country – which are short of blood supplies and life-saving equipment – are being targeted with military strikes by both the Army and the RSF, according to eyewitness accounts to CNN and two doctors’ organizations, leaving medical personnel unable to reach the wounded and to bury the dead.
One doctor at a Khartoum hospital – whom CNN is not naming for security reasons – said his facility has been targeted since Saturday. “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.”