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There has been no let up in the brutal violence that was unleashed in Sudan


There's been no letup in the heavy artillery fire bombardments that began in Sudan over the weekend. Two rival military groups are engaged in open warfare, a battle for power, as millions of people are sheltering inside.


The United Nations says close to 200 people have been killed so far with hundreds more wounded. Just yesterday, the European Union ambassador was also assaulted at his residence and a U.S. diplomatic convoy was fired on. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said everyone involved is safe. In calls with both sides, he pushed for a cease-fire.

FADEL: NPR's Emmanuel Akinwotu is in Lagos following the latest. Good morning.


FADEL: So this is the fourth day of fighting in Sudan, and you've been speaking to people there. If you could just describe what everyone's going through.

AKINWOTU: Leila, just incredibly bleak stories, from people trapped inside their homes for days, no running water, hardly any food, no electricity and, in the backdrop, the constant rumble of fighting going on all day or night - no letup. You know, the humanitarian situation in Sudan is growing dire. Some hospitals have had to shut down. Many others are running out of supplies. Some have been taken over actually by the Rapid Support Forces, the RSF, for warfare. One person just outside Khartoum told me late last night that the RSF were actually embedding in their homes, within their neighborhoods, ordering people to leave and making these homes a target for airstrikes.

Tagreed Abdin - she's an architect, a mother, and she's trapped, like millions of other people, inside her home in Khartoum. And she shared her frustration about this entire situation in a video on Twitter. And you can hear in the background the rumble of explosions.


TAGREED ABDIN: We're just caught in the middle. I don't have a preference. I don't even - you know, it's like...


ABDIN: Just - this is our new normal now.

AKINWOTU: Just incredibly bleak. And of course, as well as how this has impacted ordinary people in Sudan, there has also been the attacks on the diplomatic community, too.

FADEL: Now, you mentioned the RSF, which is one of the warring factions here. If you could describe this truly awful situation for people - is there any news on any letup, any possible cease-fire?

AKINWOTU: Well, Leila, just about an hour ago, the head of the RSF, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, widely known as Hemedti - he said he'd abide by a 24-hour humanitarian cease-fire. And we've actually heard a response from the army. You know, a spokesperson for General al-Burhan told our colleague Aya Batrawy that the army sees this statement as a smokescreen, as a cover-up for their, as he called it, imminent defeat. And so this is, in effect, part of what makes this conflict incredibly difficult. Both sides are engaged in military warfare, but there's also a propaganda war. And it's difficult - increasingly difficult, especially outside Khartoum - to have a sense of how this conflict is unfolding. There's fighting in Khartoum in several parts of the country, but the picture is murky and both sides are claiming victory.

FADEL: So, you know, Blinken called both generals last night himself, urging a cease-fire. And it doesn't sound like it's going to happen. So what can happen to persuade the two leaders to stop fighting? Who can get involved?

AKINWOTU: Well, a whole host of countries have leverage. The countries with the greatest leverage are Arab countries - you know, the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia. And there are also countries, regionally, who have called for mediation. And the difficulty with this mediation is that most of these countries can't actually even get into Sudan. The airports are inaccessible because of fighting. And both sides say that while they're open to negotiations, they're vowing to defeat the other. It's almost four years exactly since the revolution in Sudan. And we saw so much promise, so much hope and inspiration for many people in Sudan and in Africa. And four years since then, what we've seen is that the promise of that revolution has been incredibly hard to fulfill.

FADEL: NPR's Emmanuel Akinwotu in Lagos, thank you so much for your time.

AKINWOTU: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF ZOE KEATING'S "FORTE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Leila Fadel is a national correspondent for NPR based in Los Angeles, covering issues of culture, diversity, and race.
Emmanuel Akinwotu
Emmanuel Akinwotu is an international correspondent for NPR. He joined NPR in 2022 from The Guardian, where he was West Africa correspondent.