The UN has warned 800,000 people may flee Sudan as rival military factions battle in the capital, Khartoum, despite a supposed ceasefire.

There seems little prospect of a quick resolution to the crisis, which has unleashed a humanitarian disaster, damaged swathes of Khartoum, risked drawing in regional powers, and reignited conflict in the western Darfur region.

Both sides agreed on Sunday to extend a much-violated truce by 72 hours, and Reuters reported the UN as saying they might hold truce talks in Saudi Arabia. But air strikes and artillery rang out on Monday as smoke hung over Khartoum and neighbouring cities.

UN refugee deputy chief, Raouf Mazou said his agency was planning for an exodus of 815,000 people, including 580,000 Sudanese and foreign refugees now living in the country.

Some 73,000 had already fled to seven of Sudan’s neighbours, he said.

Sudanese who ventured onto the streets were shocked by the transformation.

“We saw dead bodies. The industrial area was all looted. We saw people carrying TVs on their backs and big sacks looted from factories,” resident Mohamed Ezzeldin told Reuters.

Many fear for their lives in the power struggle between the army chief, General Abde Fattah al-Burhan, and the commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, who had shared control of the government after a 2021 coup but fell out over a planned transition to civilian rule.

Tens of thousands of Sudanese have fled their homes, some congregating in hubs such as Atbara north-east of Khartoum while they work out plans or head for the Egyptian and Chadian borders.

ABC reports that hundreds of people have been killed and thousands wounded over 16 days of violence since disputes between the Army and the powerful paramilitary RSF erupted into conflict on April 15.

FRCN Abuja/Adetutu Adetule

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