Disease outbreaks in Sudan amid unrelenting fighting
RSF recruits 170 former army soldiers in El Geneina
Cholera is spreading in parts of Khartoum State and neighboring Gedaref State, coinciding with the rainy season, as fighting and unrelenting aerial bombardment continue in the Sudanese capital.
The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in its latest weekly update reported 160 suspected cholera cases in Gedaref State, and 506 dengue cases.
Additionally, White Nile and Jezira states are suffering from a measles outbreak, with 4,000 cases reported and 107 deaths. Those two states are hosting approximately 600,000 people displaced from the capital region and other conflict zones.
The rainy season also brings malaria. About 700,00 cases were identified, and eight associated deaths, mostly in the three mentioned states, according to OCHA.
Though such outbreaks are endemic to Sudan, the population is currently more vulnerable due to hunger and mass displacement. The Gedaref cholera outbreak possibly spread from neighboring Ethiopia, where there are 20,000 cases.
Overall, the military situation in Sudan is largely unchanged over the past week: the RSF have made some marginal military gains, while the army have continued to ramp up their mass recruitment and training in preparation for a long war.
El Geneina defection
The Rapid Support Forces yesterday announced they received 172 defectors from the SAF 15th Infantry Division in El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur, as the paramilitary attempts to consolidate its control over the city following the recent mass killings carried out in West Darfur with the participation of RSF forces.
The RSF held a ceremony for the defectors October 2. Videos of the event show several dozen soldiers in SAF uniform, as well as others who have put on RSF uniforms. A representative of the defectors gave a speech, as did an RSF commander. The above video is from an unofficial source, though the RSF media office also produced a more polished and propagandistic video of the event.
The specific circumstances of this defection are unclear, and the source of the information is propagandistic. Sometimes, the RSF offer prisoners of war the opportunity to join their ranks rather than stay in detention in deplorable conditions—in which case these recruitments can be considered compulsory rather than voluntary. Other times, mass defections have taken place along ethnic lines.
Despite the lack of details about this specific group, the development underscores the precarious position of the SAF garrison in El Geneina, which is largely confined to its base while the RSF control the city itself and most of the state as a whole.
Alleged damage to Ethiopian embassy
SAF and RSF traded accusations Tuesday about an attack that allegedly damaged the Ethiopian embassy in the Amarat neighborhood of Khartoum. The RSF media office said in a statement said that the attack “severely damaged the embassy building.”
For its part, the Armed Forces denied responsibility for the attack and blamed RSF, saying, “Since the beginning of this ongoing war, the Armed Forces have demonstrated their keenness to observe international humanitarian law and to ensure the safety of protected objects, including the headquarters of accredited diplomatic missions in the country, unlike the rebel militia…”
So far there isn’t any visual evidence of the alleged attack. The embassy is about 2 km from the frontline, so it could be subject to stray artillery or rockets, or an airstrike. Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs hasn’t yet made any comment.
RSF shelling continued across the Nile into Al-Jarafa on October 2, according to local sources. Unlike the previous attack, this time there was no loss of life.
There were clashes east of Jebel Aulia, a city south of Khartoum, October 2.
The army repulsed an attack on the 16th Division headquarters in Nyala on Sunday, according to SAF spokesperson Brigadier Nabil Abdullah.
Al Arabiya reported a drone strike on 60th Street in Khartoum on the morning of October 3, and a bombing in the Mujahideen neighborhood in the afternoon.
The Armed Forces also dropped a bomb in East Nile in Wad Dafia yesterday, October 2, according social media reports.
A mosque in Kadroo in Khartoum Bahri was damaged, allegedly by the RSF. Parts of Kadroo are controlled by SAF and there is periodic fighting in the area. There are also preliminary reports of civilian casualties.
Emergency Layers have condemned the RSF for restricting the flow of people, goods, and medicines to and from Tuti Island, which is at the confluence of the Blue and White Nile rivers in Khartoum. The organization said, “They have closed the bridge, the only land route linking the island to the capital, and are restricting the movement of people, consumer goods, and life-saving medicines. They have also prevented river transport by boat, leading to starvation and the deaths of some people due to lack of healthcare, medicine, and food.”
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Airstrikes and artillery have killed nearly 1,000 in Khartoum State (Arabic article)
Geolocation of an airstrike on the RSF at Armored Corps (Arabic article)
This video shows two members of a tank crew escaping from a burning tank and surrendering to the RSF.
This is a recent video of SAF fighting from a rooftop in a neighborhood near Armored Corps in southwest Khartoum. For more videos from this area, refer to our August 28 article, “Scenes of urban combat from the past week in Khartoum.”