Battle for Wad Madani opens up new front
Sudan's paramilitary Rapid Support Forces battled the army outside the central city of Wad Madani on Saturday, pressing an attack that has opened a new front in the eight-month-old war and forced thousands to flee, witnesses said.
Crowds of people - many of whom had taken refuge in the city from violence in the capital Khartoum - could be seen packing up belongings and leaving on foot in video posted on social media.
"The war has followed us to Madani so I am looking for a bus so me and my family can flee," 45-year-old Ahmed Salih told Reuters by phone.
"We are living in hell and there is no one to help us." He said he planned to head south to Sennar.
Sudan's army, which has held the city since the start of the conflict, launched air strikes on RSF forces to the east of the city, the capital of Gezira state, as it tried to push back the assault that started on Friday, witnesses said.
The RSF responded with artillery and RSF reinforcements were seen moving in the direction of the fighting, the witnesses added.
RSF soldiers have also been seen in villages to the north and west of the city in recent days and weeks, residents said.
The United Nations said 14,000 people had fled the area so far, and a few thousand had already reached other cities.