Sudan in panic as paramilitaries move South
On a countryside road in battle-ravaged Sudan, the hum of a passing vehicle turns villagers’ blood cold, fearing the arrival of paramilitaries plundering their way south in their war against the army.
The Rapid Support Forces
(RSF) have looted everything: cars, lorries and tractors, laments a resident of
a village in the state of al-Jazira, speaking on condition of anonymity for
fear of reprisals from the paramilitaries as they push southwards in war-torn
The villagers of al-Jazira hold their breath every time they
hear the roar of a car or motorbike engine, so fearful are they of the dreaded
"On Saturday, seven individuals armed with machine guns and
wearing FSR uniforms knocked on my door", Abdine said, declining to reveal
his surname for security reasons.
They asked him about the car parked in his garage before
"taking it away with their weapons pointed at us", said a distressed
resident of Hasaheisa, a town 50 kilometers north of the capital of Al-Jazeera,
The bloody war that has pitted the Sudanese army against the RSF
paramilitaries in Khartoum for the past eight months has forced half a million
people to seek refuge further south, in this agricultural state that was until
recently spared the violence.
Recently, however, the paramilitaries, who control most of the
capital, have been advancing along the motorway linking the capital to Wad
Madani, taking village after village and terrorizing its inhabitants.
On 15 December, they attacked Wad Madani, forcing more than
300,000 people to flee again, within the state of Al-Jazira but also towards
the neighboring states of Sennar and Gedaref, according to the UN.
Since then, the paramilitaries have continued their relentless
On Saturday, they were spotted "15 kilometers north of
Sennar", 140 kilometers south of Wad Madani, witnesses told AFP.