Sudan fighters seize Khartoum museum, director says


The deputy director of Khartoum’s national museum warned on Saturday that paramilitary troops had seized control and that the nation’s heritage, including ancient mummies, should be preserved.

Rapid Support Forces troops, according to Deputy Director Ikhlas Abdellatif, entered the museum on Friday.

Museum employees ceased working after the April 15 conflict, which caused officers defending the museum to quit. The RSF released a video of a soldier claiming to have damaged the museum and inviting anybody to see it.

In the video, RSF fighters cover exposed mummies with coverings and seal their white cages. The finding of the mummies was unknown.

The museum is located in downtown Khartoum, near the central bank and some of the deadliest fighting. Among its hundreds of precious antiques are 2,500-year-old embalmed mummies.

Former director Hatim Alnour said that the museum has sculptures, pottery, paintings, and relics dating from the Stone Age through the Christian and Islamic eras.

According to Roxanne Trioux, a French archaeologist studying in Sudan, they had been monitoring satellite photographs of the museum and saw signs of fire before Friday. “We don’t know the extent of the damage on the inside,” she said.

Despite many truces, including one between Saudi Arabia and the United States, violence has persisted. Saturday night was the last one. Residents in southern Khartoum, Omdurman, Bahri, and Sharg el-Nil reported air and artillery bombardment on Saturday afternoon.

Following ongoing clashes, shelling, and civilian building takeover, Washington and Riyadh postponed talks this week.

Sudan’s sovereign council, commanded by army chief General Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan and RSF chief Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, has governed since the fall of Omar al-Bashir in 2019. Burhan sacked Hemedti last month as the two men led rival factions in a violent power struggle.

On Friday, the United Nations Security Council asked warring parties to halt fighting in order for humanitarian agencies to get access. “The army is shelling us, and the RSF are spread out in the streets, and the city is paying the price for war,” Omdurman resident Sami el-Tayeb, 47, said.

The fighting has driven 1.2 million people inside Sudan and 400,000 into neighboring countries, pushing the country to the brink of disaster and raising fears of a bigger battle.


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