Sudan’s military fends off an attack by paramilitary forces on a major Darfur city

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Sudanese Children suffering from malnutrition are treated at an MSF clinic in Metche Camp, Chad, near the Sudanese border on April 6. (AP)

CAIRO, May 12, (AP): Sudan’s military and allied armed groups have staved off an attack by a paramilitary group and Arab militias on a major city in the western region of Darfur, officials and residents said on Saturday.
The attack on Friday was the latest by the Arab-dominated Rapid Support Forces against el-Fasher, the provincial capital of North Darfur province, where hundreds of thousands of people are sheltering, many of them having fled fighting elsewhere in Darfur.
The RSF, which has been at war with the military for more than a year, has built forces up in recent months to wrestle control of el-Fasher, the last city that is still held by the military in the sprawling Darfur region.
Sudan’s conflict began in April last year when soaring tensions between the leaders of the military and the RSF exploded into open fighting in the capital, Khartoum and elsewhere in the country.
The conflict wrecked the country and pushed its population to the brink of famine. It killed more than 14,000 people and wounded thousands more amid reports of widespread sexual violence and other atrocities that rights groups say amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Darfur witnessed some of the worst atrocities in the war, with the RSF taking control of many cities and towns across the region. Human Rights Watch said in a report last week that RSF attacks constituted a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the region’s non-Arab population.
The RSF and their allies launched the attack on el-Fasher’s eastern side early Friday and clashed with military forces and other armed groups defending the city, said resident Amany Mohamed. She said the military and allied forces have repelled the attack.
“Yesterday was a very difficult day,” she said over the phone on Saturday. “There were fierce clashes that lasted for six hours.”

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