Death toll from Sudan violence approaches 100

Heavy explosions and continued gunfire are reported overnight in capital Khartoum

The death toll in Sudan from recent violence is nearing 100 as fighting continues between forces loyal to two rival generals.

The likelihood of conflict - which began on Saturday - had long been suspected due to tensions between General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, who leads the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), and the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

At least 97 people have been killed, according to Sudan’s doctors’ union.

On Sunday, the World Health Organisation said more than 83 people had been killed and more than 1,126 injured across Khartoum, South Kordofan, North Darfur, Northern State and other regions, with the most intense fighting concentrated in the capital city.


The clashes are devastating for many Sudanese civilians who have spent years protesting, organising and calling for democracy.

Former dictator Omar Hassan al-Bashir was ousted in April 2019. Initially civilian and military leaders shared power, but efforts to bring the North African into civilian rule have so far failed, with the military taking control in an October 2021 coup and detaining civilian prime minister Abdalla Hamdok.

At the time, Gen Burhan said that disputes between the civilian and military leaders had threatened Sudan’s stability, and that the armed forces would “continue completing the democratic transition until the handover of the country’s leadership to a civilian, elected government.”

The US, China and Russia, among many other countries, have called for an end to the fighting. Tánaiste Micheál Martin said he extended his “deepest condolences” to Sudan’s bereaved, and expressed solidarity with Sudanese people, including those living in Ireland. “The people of Sudan have been consistent in their message that legitimacy cannot come from violence.”

Sudanese civilians took to social media to share updates on fighting in their areas and the names and photos of people who have been killed.

“It feels like a form of torture to be just listening to these varied sounds of destruction, waiting for the possibility of us being next,” tweeted Nisrin Elamin, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto. She also shared a photo of her mother’s cousin, who she said had been killed.

Hamid Khalafallah, a researcher based in Khartoum, said he heard “very loud gunfire and explosions” and “a jet fighter and heavy artillery exchanging fire nonstop.”

On Sunday night, he said, their electricity supply resumed after almost 36 hours without it. “Thinking of all those who don’t have safe and comfortable shelters in these very difficult times.”

“We saw it coming. But being right is little comfort when a bomb goes off two doors down. Could we have done more ... lobbied mediators harder? Some of this always seemed inevitable but miscalculations were made by many,” said political analyst Kholood Khair.

“The clashes in Khartoum and across Sudan are in part a result of abusive leaders being emboldened because of a lack of accountability. The UN Security Council should hold an emergency session and ensure the protection of civilians,” tweeted Tirana Hassan, executive director of Human Rights Watch, which has long reported on human rights abuses in the country.

The UN’s World Food Programme said on Sunday that it was halting operations after three of its employees were killed. NGO Relief International also said one of its employees was killed.

The Irish Times was denied a visa to report from Sudan last month.

Sally Hayden

Sally Hayden

Sally Hayden, a contributor to The Irish Times, reports on Africa