International governments have been calling for a truce in Sudan so authorities can distribute aid and coordinate evacuations.
However, opposite is the case as the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) attempt to seize the Sudanese army headquarters.
Fighting intensifies in central Khartoum as RSF leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, is commanding his troops from the city’s Hai Al Matar neighborhood, which is close to the military headquarters, a high ranking military official and an eyewitness told CNN.
The military official chose to remain anonymous as they were not authorized to speak. The eyewitness, who saw Hemedti’s convoy, requested anonymity out of fear for their safety.
Serious clashes also continue at Khartoum’s main airport, which has been closed since Saturday.
At the heart of the conflict is a power struggle between Hemedti and Sudan’s military chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.
On Wednesday, both sides accused each other of breaching a 24-hour truce that was meant to come into effect early evening local time on Tuesday.
Sudan’s armed forces said that conditions created by the RSF “have not allowed for a truce to start.”
“Different groups from the RSF in several locations around the country assaulted civilians and continued looting, burning the market on Bahri in Khartoum,” said Sudanese Armed Forces spokesperson Brigadier General Nabil Abdallah Ali Moussa.
“The real problem is that there does not seem that there is control over the RSF from its leadership. They are acting similar to gangs, and they are threatening people’s lives,” Moussa said.
The RSF meanwhile accused the armed forces of breaching the truce “in the first hours” after it came into effect, and said the army continues to engage in “heavy weapons attacks and indiscriminate bombing.”
“The situation today is worse than yesterday,” Amal, a Sudanese woman who has been trapped in her home, told CNN.
“We can hear heavy artillery and smell and see the smoke rising from burning buildings,” she said.
Eman, a British-Sudanese doctor visiting Khartoum who has been trapped in her home since Saturday, told CNN that a number of her friends and family members have had to evacuate their homes, seeking shelter from indiscriminate bombing which has hit some residential buildings.
And half of the hospitals in Sudan’s capital are “out of action” due to intensifying clashes, according to a leading aid organization – even as the number of casualties rise and many of the injured are in dire need of medical attention.
“According to the information we have in Khartoum, 50% of hospitals have been out of action in the first 72 hours,” said Abdalla Hussein, the Médecins Sans Frontière (MSF) operational manager for Sudan.
“This is because the staff weren’t feeling safe to go there or the hospitals themselves have been subject to shelling or bombing,” he said.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 296 people have been killed and more than 3,000 have been injured since fighting erupted on Saturday.
International governments have been calling for a truce so authorities can distribute aid and coordinate evacuations.
On Wednesday, Japan said it was preparing to send its military to evacuate nationals from Sudan.
Japan has been able to contact all 60 of its nationals in Sudan, including embassy staff, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said during an emergency news conference.
There are no reports of injuries among them, though food and water are scarce, and power cuts have become frequent as the security situation deteriorates.
Further details about the deployment of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces will be discussed in the future, he added.
The United States has not announced any plans for an evacuation operation for Americans in Sudan, but has urged its nationals to stay indoors, shelter in place, and stay away from windows.
Other countries have published advisories to their nationals in Sudan.
China has asked its citizens there to stay vigilant and to register their information online with the Chinese Embassy in Khartoum.
The Indian Embassy in Sudan also issued an advisory on Tuesday asking its citizens to stay indoors and ration supplies due to looting.