An airstrike in Sudan’s capital Khartoum Saturday killed at least 17 people, including five children, health officials said, as fighting continued between rival generals seeking to control the country.
The attack was one of the deadliest of the clashes in urban areas of Khartoum and elsewhere in Sudan between the military and a powerful paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces, or RSF.
It was not clear whether the attack was by aircraft or a drone. The military’s aircraft have repeatedly targeted RSF troops, and the RSF has reportedly used drones and anti-aircraft weapons against the military.
The conflict in Sudan broke out in mid-April, capping months of increasing tensions between the leaders of the military and the RSF.
Saturday’s strike hit the Yarmouk neighborhood in southern Khartoum, where clashes have centered in recent weeks, according to Sudan's Ministry of Health. The area houses a military facility controlled by the army. At least 25 houses were destroyed, the ministry wrote in a Facebook post.
The dead included five children and an unknown number of women and elderly people, and some wounded people were hospitalized, the ministry said.
A local group that calls itself The Emergency Room and helps organize humanitarian aid in the area, said at least 11 people were wounded in the strike. It posted images it said were of houses damaged in the attack and people searching through rubble. Other images claimed to show a wounded girl and man.
The RSF claimed in a statement that the military’s aircraft bombed the area, killing and wounded civilians. It claimed it downed a military MiG fighter jet. The paramilitary group's claims couldn’t be independently verified.
A military spokesman didn’t respond to messages seeking comment.
The conflict has plunged the African country into chaos and turned Khartoum and other urban areas into battlefields. The paramilitary force has occupied people’s houses and other civilian properties since the onset of the conflict, according to residents and activists.
The clashes have killed hundreds of civilians and wounded thousands of others. More than 2.2 million people have fled their homes to safer areas inside Sudan or crossed into neighboring countries.
Along with Khartoum, fighting has raged in Darfur, a sprawling area in western Sudan. Genena, the provincial capital of West Darfur province, has experienced some of the worst battles in the conflict, with tens of thousands of its residents fleeing to neighboring Chad.
Arab militias known as janjaweed have recently joined the clashes in Genena on the side of the RSF, according to residents and activists.
On Wednesday, West Darfur Gov. Khamis Abdalla Abkar was abducted and killed hours after he accused the RSF and allied Arab militias in a televised interview of attacking Genena.
His slaying was blamed on the RSF, a charge the paramilitary force denied.