June 19, 2024

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An 18-storey building in the centre of Sudan’s capital has been engulfed in flames amid ongoing fighting in the country.

An instantly recognisable office tower in the heart of Sudan’s capital is engulfed in flames as fighting between the army and a rival paramilitary group enters its sixth month.

The Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC) Tower, situated in downtown Khartoum, caught fire early on Sunday during clashes between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), according to Sudanese media.

It is unclear how the fire started or whether anyone was killed.

Online footage of the blaze showed clouds of dark smoke rising from the burned-out glass tower, one of the tallest buildings in Khartoum.

Iconic Sudan building.
This picture taken on September 17, 2023 shows the start of a fire raging at the Greater Nile Petroleum Oil Company Tower in Khartoum. [AFP]

The latest fighting in the capital left three key landmark towers in the Al Mugran district gutted by fire: GNPOC, the Ministry of Justice, and the Sudanese Standards and Metrology Organization.

Sudan has been rocked by violence since mid-April, when tensions between the country’s military, led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the RSF, commanded by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, burst into open fighting.

The conflict has reduced Khartoum to an urban war zone. In Greater Khartoum, RSF troops have commandeered civilian homes and turned them into operational bases, while the military has responded by bombing the residential areas, rights groups and activists say.

In the western Darfur region, the conflict has morphed into ethnic violence, with the RSF and allied Arab militias attacking ethnic African groups, according to rights groups and the United Nations.

The conflict has killed more than 4,000 people, according to August figures from the UN. However, the real toll is almost certainly much higher, doctors and activists say.

Last month, Amnesty International said both warring parties have committed extensive war crimes, including deliberate killings of civilians and sexual assault.

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