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Civilians flee violence as Khartoum descends into chaos


The rippling effects of Sudan’s civil war are trickling down to the once-metropolitan city of Khartoum. Buses filled with distraught civilians are caught at the border trying to leave the country. South Sudan is in the grips of a civil war. The Rapid Support Forces of RSF, a paramilitary group, is in direct conflict with the Sudanese Army. The separation of Sudan and South Sudan emerged from a civil war. The civil war lasted for months, leading to Sudan's split into South Sudan. Since 2011, the forces loyal to former President Salva Kiir and his deputy Riek Marchar have been fighting against each other. After five years of civil war, the two parties brokered a peace agreement. The death toll rose to 400,000 civilians and displaced countless.



History is repeating itself as circumstances of a civil war are brewing in the region. The conflict was fueled due to oil export issues in Sudan. South Sudan shares good relations with its neighboring commanders, but they wield little to no influence on them. According to the International Crisis Group’s 2021 reports, South Sudan's oil exports rely on Sudan's international market and networking abilities. It fears that Sudan's delicate and temporary government will collapse if the oil exports and pipelines running through Sudan are disrupted. The World Bank reported that oil money accounts for South Sudan’s 70% Gross Domestic Product. South Sudan risks economic disaster if its oil exports do not flow smoothly through Sudan due to the conflict between the Sudanese army and RSF troops. 



Amidst the violence, citizens in Khartoum are being forced to flee. Air strikes and full-scale military interventions have become the norm in Sudan. The majority of Central Khartoum and the southern Blue Nile region have been affected the most. Khartoum’s international airport, several schools, and hospitals are the targets of fighting forces. The BBC obtained footage and videos of air strikes and attacks on infrastructure. The RSF forces marked a 72-hour truce to celebrate a Muslim holy holiday, but that too failed to materialize. Necessities for the residents of Khartoum, such as medicine, groceries, and drinking water, are running low as the fighting continues. The President’s forces attempted to block Khartoum from the RSF forces, but sources claim they utterly failed. Hospitals are overcrowded with wounded civilians and soldiers, and doctors claim insufficient medicine or equipment to treat the sudden rise of patients. 



Amidst the chaos, fleeing Khartoum remains the only viable option for residents. This option is as dangerous, if not more, than staying in Khartoum. The RSF forces have blazed through the city, vandalizing cars and other means of transportation. There needs to be more trains or buses to facilitate the mass exit of citizens. The RSF has set up checkpoints throughout Khartoum's exits, making fleeing more dangerous. The few checkpoints which did allow citizens to escape were destroyed soon after. Those who have managed to escape have an uncertain future ahead of them as refugees. There is a significant amount of international interest in this conflict. Sudan and South Sudan are situated near the Horn of Africa. A stronghold on this region guarantees global power leverage on world trade. The great powers of Russia and China have set up oil fields and infrastructure in Sudan, and the USA and Saudi Arabia keep a close watch on the region. With peace not in sight in the conflict between RSF and President Riek, the citizens of Khartoum have become another casualty of war.

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Tags: #violence #Sudan #civilians #oil #persecution #South Sudan #Khartoum #civil war


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