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Sudan: 42 civilians killed by artillery shelling in Nyala, South Darfur

According to reports published this week, last Tuesday (the 22nd of August) 42 civilians, most of them women and children, were killed in Nyala’s Teiba and Sikka Hadid neighbourhoods. Artillery shells struck a bridge under which at least 30 people were sheltering, as well as nearby homes. Five entire families were reportedly among the deceased.

According to UNICEF, at least 435 children have been reported killed and 2,025 injured in the conflict. Save the Children’s Country Director in Sudan, Dr. Arif Noor, said in their statement on the incident: “More needs to be done by the international community to pressure the warring parties to uphold the commitments they made in Jeddah in May 2023 where they declared to the world, they would comply with international law not to harm children and their families.”

Since 15 April 2023, AOAV has recorded 70 incidents of explosive weapons use in Sudan, resulting in a total of 1,237 civilian casualties (531 killed, 706 injured). The violence has spread across the country, impacting at least nine cities across seven states. 40% (494) of civilians were killed and injured in Khartoum, 19% (229) in Nyala, and 17% (211) in Omdurman.

The vast majority, 61% (43), of incidents were recorded in urban residential areas, resulting in 40% (500) of the civilian casualties. 19% (231) of civilian casualties were recorded in police stations, 17% (208) in markets, 13% (166) across multiple urban areas, and 5% (62) at public gatherings.

82% (1,018) of civilian casualties were caused by ground-launched weapons. Non-specific shelling killed and injured a reported 664 civilians, while tank shells caused 133 civilian casualties, followed by artillery shells (92 civilian casualties), RPGs (57), ground-launched missiles (27), combined ground-launched weapons (20), ground-launched rockets (17), and mortar shelling (8). Air-launched weapons, specifically air strikes, caused 151 civilian casualties.

On April 15, a full-scale armed conflict broke out between General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, de-facto ruler of Sudan, and General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, leader of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Initially focused in the streets of Khartoum, the country’s capital, the insecurity and armed violence has since spread to other cities, displacing thousands and exacerbating Sudan’s existing humanitarian challenges, as well as compounding the challenges of an eventual transition to civilian, democratic rule.

Read AOAV conflict briefing here.

Photo: Dabanga Sudan

AOAV’s casualty figures represent the lowest of estimations in terms of the number of people killed and injured by explosive weapon use. In an effort to quantify the explicit harm caused by specific explosive weapons, AOAV solely records incident-specific casualty figures, as reported in English-language media.

AOAV condemns the use of violence against civilians and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. All actors should stop using explosive weapons with wide-area effects where there is likely to be a high concentration of civilians.