The second largest city in Sudan, Wad Madani, falls under the control of the RSF paramilitary.

Following three days of intense combat that resulted in the displacement of thousands of individuals towards the southern region, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of Sudan have successfully seized Wad Madani, the country’s second-largest city. Wad Madani had served as a safe haven for numerous refugees from the capital, Khartoum, during the eight-month conflict between the regular army and the paramilitary RSF.

Videos released by the RSF on Monday exhibited fighters traversing the city’s streets in pickup trucks. Wad Madani, which acts as the capital of el-Gezira state, witnessed massive looting of markets and homes on Sunday, carried out by the army, the police, and some civilians. Additionally, reports emerged of RSF fighters engaging in further looting on Monday.

During the paramilitary’s advancement on Wad Madani, the army’s intelligence units allegedly detained civilians based on their ethnicity, particularly targeting those from Darfur. The Darfuris, who have resided in el-Gezira as agricultural workers for decades, fell victim to arbitrary arrests.

Aid organizations, many of which had relocated from Khartoum to Wad Madani, halted their operations following the RSF’s incursion.

Established nearly a century ago during British and Egyptian rule, Wad Madani currently houses the army’s primary infantry division.

Since the outbreak of the conflict in April, over 10,000 lives have been lost, while approximately six million people have been forcefully displaced from their homes, resulting in the world’s most significant internal displacement crisis.

In 2019, Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo assumed power alongside a civilian government following President Omar al-Bashir’s ousting. However, the two generals executed a coup in 2021, subsequently falling out this year due to disagreements regarding the integration timeline of the RSF into the army.

The RSF has progressively advanced upon major cities throughout Sudan, securing control over four of Darfur’s states and a significant portion of Khartoum. All attempts by regional actors to halt the conflict have proven unsuccessful.

The United Nations reported that nearly half of Sudan’s population is currently facing severe food shortages, with over 20 million children unable to attend school since the war’s commencement. Both sides have been accused of perpetrating mass sexual assaults against women and girls.

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