KHARTOUM, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on Saturday traded blame over the destruction of a bridge over the Jabal Awliya dam south of the capital Khartoum.
"As a continuation to its destruction to the country and its infrastructure, the artillery shelling by the terrorist rebel militia on our positions in Jabal Awliya at dawn today (Saturday) caused the destruction of the Jabal Awliya dam bridge," a spokesman of the SAF's office said in a statement.
For its part, the RSF accused in a statement the SAF of destroying the bridge.
"The destruction of the Jabal Awliya bridge is a full-fledged war crime targeting vital infrastructure and humanitarian facilities," the RSF said in the statement.
The RSF further held the SAF responsible in case of any harm to the Jabal Awliya dam as a result of the bridge destruction.
Fights have been raging between the SAF and RSF over the past week to control the Jabal Awliya area, which includes the Al-Nujoumi air base, one of the four most important air bases in the country, and the Jabal Awliya dam. Serious damage to the bridge could threaten major flooding of the While Nile.
Last week, the RSF claimed to have controlled the Jabal Awliya dam and the Al-Nujoumi air base, but the SAF denied the claim and said the entire area was under its control.
Deadly clashes have been going on between the SAF and the RSF in Khartoum and other areas since April 15, killing up to 9,000 people by October, forcing more than 6 million displaced within and outside Sudan and leaving 25 million in need of aid, according to the Sudan situation report released on Nov. 12 by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. ■