Fierce fighting across Sudan entered a second day as months of tensions between a paramilitary group and the country’s army erupted into violence.
Clashes around the army headquarters and presidential palace in capital Khartoum involved heavy weapons. There have also been reports of battles hundreds of miles away in the eastern city of Port Sudan and in the western Darfur region.
At least 56 people have been killed and nearly 600 injured in the clashes, according to the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors.
“Since yesterday we have not been able to leave the hospital for our homes because the clashes are taking place near the hospital and armed men from the army are roaming inside the hospital with their weapons,” a female doctor in Khartoum told CNN.
“We are in a real state of terror with the sound of explosions and bullets, we escaped death many times,” she added.
Sudan’s paramilitary chief Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo claimed to have seized most of Khartoum’s official sites after clashes erupted between his armed group and the country’s military on Saturday.
On Sunday, Dagalo’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) released a video declaring it had gained control of the Meroe airport in the north of the country. Dagalo told CNN the RSF is in control of the presidential palace, Khartoum airport and the General Command headquarters.
The country’s military leader, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, disputed Dagalo’s claims on Saturday and said the military has maintained control over government sites.
CNN has been unable to independently verify either side’s claims.
As fighting continues in Khartoum and other parts of Sudan, the World Health Organization is urging all parties to the conflict to respect the neutrality of health care and ensure unrestricted access to health facilities for those injured by the hostilities.
More than 83 people have been killed and at least 1,126 injured since April 13 “across Khartoum, South Kordofan, North Darfur, Northern State and other regions,” the organization said, noting the “heaviest concentration of fighting” is now in Khartoum City.
“There are also reports of shortages of specialized medical personnel, including anesthesiologists,” the WHO said in a statement Sunday. “Water and power cuts are affecting the functionality of health facilities, and shortages of fuel for hospital generators are also being reported.”
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Dagalo – also known as Hemedti – described Burhan as a “criminal,” accusing him of instigating the fighting.
“It was not us who did this,” Dagalo told CNN’s Larry Madowo. “We were defending our