Drone attack leaves at least 40 dead in Khartoum outdoor market

Incident in the Sudanese capital comes a week after at least 32 civilians were killed by army airstrikes in Omdurman

FILE PHOTO: Smoke rises above buildings after an aerial bombardment during clashes between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and the army, in Khartoum North, Sudan, May 1, 2023.  REUTERS / Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah / File Photo
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A drone attack targeting an outdoor market on the southern fringes of the Sudanese capital Khartoum has killed at least 40 people, activists and a medical group say, as the army and a rival paramilitary continue to fight for control of the vast Afro-Arab nation.

At least three dozen others were injured in the Sunday attack in the Mayo district, said Resistance Committees, a pro-democracy group responsible for organising most of the antimilitary street protests that swept Sudan after a 2021 coup toppled a civilian-led government.

The death toll and casualty figures were confirmed by medical workers at a hospital where the injured have been taken. Images posted online showed bodies wrapped in white sheets lying on the ground in the hospital's yard. A medical group operating in the area also said at least 40 were killed.

It said many of the wounded were taken to a local hospital on donkey-drawn carts and tuk-tuks.

"Many of the wounded succumbed to their injuries while being transported to hospital," said the The Emergency Group South of the Belt.

It was not immediately clear which side was behind Sunday’s attack. Both the army and its rival, the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, are known to have deployed drones in their nearly five-month-old war.

There was no word immediately available from the army or the RSF on the attack.

The Mayo district is the southern most residential area of the Sudanese capital. The overwhelming majority of its inhabitants come from western and southern Sudan, areas known in the country's political parlance as the marginalised fringes.

News of the drone attack came less than a week after at least 32 civilians were killed and dozens injured in artillery strikes by the army, one of the highest tolls from a single day of fighting. The strike was in Ombada in the city of Omdurman, which sits across the Nile from Khartoum.

The war between the army and the RSF is essentially a fight for political and military supremacy pitting army chief and military ruler Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan against his one-time deputy and ally Gen Mohamed Dagalo, the commander of the RSF better known by his nickname, Hemedti.

The war has created a massive humanitarian crisis, with more than half of the nation's 48 million people now in need of aid and more than five million displaced. The millions trapped in Khartoum are suffering from lengthy water and power cuts as well as skyrocketing food and fuel prices and scarce medical care.

Both generals have indicated that they intend to fight on until victory, a remote possibility given the nature of their urban battles in Khartoum, a large metropolis with a prewar population of at least five million people.

Updated: September 10, 2023, 1:26 PM