Paramilitary forces announce seizure of strategic city in southern Sudan-Xinhua

Paramilitary forces announce seizure of strategic city in southern Sudan

Source: Xinhua| 2024-06-21 03:37:30|Editor: huaxia

KHARTOUM, June 20 (Xinhua) -- The paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) announced on Thursday that it had seized control of the strategic city of el-Fula, the capital of Sudan's West Kordofan State.

The RSF said in a statement that it had "completely controlled el-Fula city, which is of strategic importance and the capital of West Kordofan state."

An eyewitness told Xinhua that confrontations began on Wednesday between the RSF and units of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) stationed within a military base on the city's outskirts.

"The clashes stopped on Thursday afternoon after the RSF took control of the army garrison and deployed its forces throughout the city, including the West Kordofan state government's secretariat, institutions, and the main market," the eyewitness said.

El-Fula has one of Sudan's largest and most important oil fields, the Heglig field.

The oil pipelines transporting South Sudan's oil exports via the Sudanese port of Bashayer in eastern Sudan also pass through el-Fula.

The Sudanese army has not yet commented on the RSF's claim of seizing el-Fula.

However, the West Kordofan state government condemned in a statement on Thursday the RSF's "brutal attack" on the state's headquarters and official institutions, and the looting of markets and defenseless civilians, calling on civilian groups fighting alongside the Sudanese army to get ready for a battle to expel the RSF from the state.

Sudan has been embroiled in a deadly conflict between the SAF and the RSF since April 2023, which has claimed more than 15,550 lives and displaced over 8.8 million people nationwide, according to estimates by a UN agency.