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  • Writer's pictureSudan Witness

Urban combat between the RSF and the SAF in Omdurman, Khartoum


Figure 1: Map of Omdurman - Khartoum, Sudan

Summary: 

  • Fighting in Omdurman has been ongoing since the start of the conflict in Sudan in April 2023, with control of the area changing hands frequently. 

  • Sudan Witness verified the presence of some Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) soldiers in the Al Bosta neighbourhood in the south of Omdurman on 5 February 2024. This was corroborated by a Sudan War Monitor report on 4 February that assessed that the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) gained ground in Omdurman in recent weeks, indicating that they were advancing from the north toward the Corps of Engineers in the south of Omdurman.

  • The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) rejected the claim, and Sudan Witness verified the presence of some RSF soldiers to a road west of the Corps of Engineers on 6 February.

  • The presence of both the SAF and RSF in Omdurman in recent weeks,  as well as conflict incidents including harm to civilians, indicate a continuation of urban combat between the two groups in the area. 


On 6 February, a pro-SAF channel posted a video to Telegram showing destroyed buildings and bodies on the ground. Sudan Witness observed four dead bodies in the video, two of which were wearing uniforms resembling that of the RSF. The other bodies appear to be wearing civilian clothing. The caption of the video reads “Omdurman, Al Arda Street, Al Tigany Al Mahi, case closed/cancelled” (امدرمان شارع العرضة  التيجاني الماحي البلاغ مشطوب) in Arabic. Sudan Witness geolocated the footage to a location 0.45km north of the Al Tigany Al Mahi Mental Health Hospital in Omdurman (figure 2), as the distinctive yellow and orange coloured panel visible in the footage matches that of the Sudapost Office. The damaged building appears to either be part of or adjacent to the Nour Al-Iman Mosque in the Al Bosta neighbourhood. 


Figure 2: Satellite imagery overlaid with geolocated footage showing damaged buildings and burnt bodies on 5 February [15.645460, 32.482214]. Sources: Google Earth, Google Maps and Telegram

Comparative analysis of Planet satellite imagery from 4 and 6 February showed the appearance of dark marks at several locations near Al Arda neighbourhood on 6 February, including in the Al Abbasiya district and in the Al Bosta district, at the confirmed location of the abovementioned video (figure 3). On 5 February, a pro-SAF account posted two images to X showing the same bodies among the rubble as seen in the video on Telegram posted on 6 February. This led Sudan Witness to chronolocate the footage to 5 February.


Figure 3: Planet Satellite imagery showing small dark marks indicating damage to buildings in Al Bosta district (north) and the Al Abbasiya district (south) in Omdurman on 4 and 6 February 2024. Sources: Planet

In the video posted on Telegram by the pro-SAF channel, a group of at least seven men, some in civilian clothing and some in uniform resembling that of the SAF, are walking around the damaged buildings (figure 4). At 0:50 seconds, a patch with the Sudanese flag is visible on the left shoulder of one individual’s uniform, which is often worn as part of SAF uniform (figure 4). The men can be heard saying “Janjaweed mercenaries, rotten, dirty, will you come here again? RSF, this is charred” and “God is Great, Omdurman, Al Tigany Al Mahi, Al Arda Street, these are their magazines, God is Great” in Arabic. 


Figure 4: Footage posted on pro-SAF Telegram channel on 6 February showing men in the Al Tigany Al Mahi Mental Health Hospital in Omdurman, some of whom are wearing the Sudanese flag patch, which is a part of SAF uniform. Sources: Telegram and Facebook

On 6 February, another pro-SAF channel posted a video to Telegram depicting the same scene of men, some in SAF uniforms, walking around damaged buildings. The men in this second video can be heard saying “You will be killed as the army said. General Intelligence [Service], SAF, Operations Authority, Special Force. Are you coming again?” in Arabic. Given the uniforms worn by at least three men in the group, the pro-SAF statements made by individuals in the video, and the men stating that they were following the orders of SAF authorities, Sudan Witness assessed that the group was likely affiliated with the SAF, but could not attribute the incident or the cause of death of the identified bodies. 


This incident is part of ongoing urban combat between the RSF and the SAF in Omdurman, which broke out at the start of the conflict in April 2023. On 4 February, Sudan War Monitor posted an update stating that the SAF gained ground in Omdurman in recent weeks, in a reported attempt to break the RSF siege of the Corps of Engineers, which, according to Sudan War Monitor, remained under SAF control at the time of reporting. Although Sudan Witness verified footage from the first video showing the presence of men in uniform resembling that of the SAF on 5 February in the Al Bosta district, Sudan Witness could not confirm who was in control of the area at the time.


On 6 February, the official RSF channel posted a video to Telegram which claimed to dispute claims that the SAF were taking back control of the city. The footage showed a group of men in RSF uniforms alongside men in civilian clothing, walking down a street while raising their weapons in the air. The caption of the post reads: “The valiant RSF soldiers refute the claims made by SAF and their allied remnants regarding their control over the engineers' neighbourhoods in Omdurman.” Sudan Witness geolocated part of the footage (at 1:03 seconds) to the road running to the west of the Al Mohandiseen neighbourhood, just west of the Corps of Engineers (figure 5). 


Figure 5: Satellite imagery overlaid with geolocated footage showing the verified presence of members of the RSF to the west of the Corps of Engineers on 6 February [15.612711, 32.457283]. Sources: Google Earth, Google Earth, Telegram and Telegram

The date stamp in the top right corner of the video states that it is 6 February 2024. A reverse image search confirmed that the video had not been previously circulated before that date, which supports that the video was taken on 6 February. Sudan Witness also used SunCalc to verify that the length and direction of the shadows visible in the video were consistent with shadows that would have appeared on 6 February. However, without more precise measurements, CIR was unable to confirm if the exact date was 6 February. If the video was indeed taken on 6 February, analysis on SunCalc suggests that it was taken between approximately 2:30 and 3:30 pm CAT (GMT+2). This further supports the assessment that the date stamp is indeed correct, and so that members of the RSF were still present to the west of the Corps of Engineers on 6 February. Sudan Witness findings suggest that, almost 10 months after fighting first broke out in Omdurman, conflict between RSF and SAF is still ongoing in Omdurman.

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Ronnie Lanna
Ronnie Lanna
Mar 07

 Your blog has quickly become a staple in my daily reading. Geometry Dash Lite

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