Sudan extends airspace closure until mid-August as fighting continues

AFP , Ahram Online , Monday 31 Jul 2023

The Sudanese civil aviation authority has extended the closure of Sudan's airspace until 15 August, with the exception of humanitarian aid and evacuation flights, Khartoum International Airport announced on Monday.

Freight trucks are parked in Hasahisa city in al-Jazirah state on July 22, 2023, as road transport is drastically reduced in war-torn Sudan. AFP


Since mid-April, when conflict broke out between Sudan's army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, regular traffic has been prohibited from using Sudanese airspace.

Khartoum International Airport has been making exceptions for humanitarian and evacuation flights, subject to the right permits being obtained by relevant authorities.


Residents stated on Sunday that in the midst of clashes between rival generals' forces in the western Darfur region, Sudan's paramilitary personnel instructed civilians to evacuate their homes in the southern part of the capital.

"Members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) told me I had 24 hours to leave the area," Khartoum resident Fawzy Radwan told AFP.


Residents reported on Sunday that hundreds of individuals were being forced to leave Jabra, a neighborhoud in southern Khartoum.

The army artillery corps and an RSF base used by Daglo are located in Jabra and the nearby area of Sahafa.

"They told us this is a military zone now and they don't want civilians around," resident Nasser Hussein told AFP.

Since the conflict began on 15 April, the RSF has faced accusations of widespread looting and forcibly evicting individuals from their homes.

The war between army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his former deputy, RSF commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, has killed at least 3,900 people, according to a conservative estimate, and displaced some 3.5 million.

Much of the fighting has occurred in densely populated neighbourhoods of Khartoum, pushing 1.7 million residents to flee and forcing the millions who remain to shelter from the crossfire in their homes, rationing water and electricity.

The International Criminal Court has initiated a new investigation into allegations of war crimes in the conflict-ridden region of Darfur, where some of the most severe violence has occurred alongside Khartoum.

Witnesses reported that on Sunday, fighting in Nyala-which is both the capital of South Darfur state and Sudan's second-largest city-caused bombs to rain down on residential areas.

In the Central Darfur state capital Zalingei, the army "killed 16 rebels and captured 14, including an officer," a military source told AFP on Sunday, requesting anonymity as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

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