Landmark office tower burns in Sudan as rival forces take battle to the streets

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Cairo: An 18-storey landmark office building in the centre of Sudan’s capital has been engulfed by fire as fighting between the military and a rival paramilitary force enters its sixth month.

The Greater Nile Petroleum Oil Company Tower, situated in the Khartoum CBD, caught fire early on Sunday, Sudan time, during clashes between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces, according to Sudanese media.

The Greater Nile Petroleum Oil Company Tower in the centre of Khartoum, Sudan, on fire on September 19.Credit: Screengrab/BBC

It’s unclear how the fire started or if anyone was killed.

Online footage of the blaze showed clouds of dark smoke rising from the burnt-out glass-paneled tower, one of the tallest buildings in the Sudanese capital.

The senior architect for the tower, Tagreed Abdin, posted on X, formely Twitter, that he was heartbroken at the “senseless destruction”.

“The landmark project defines the skyline of Khartoum,” she posted along with some photos of the building before the fire.

The offices of the Sudanese Standards and Metrology Organisation were also set alight, the Agence France-Presse reported.

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

The conflict has reduced Khartoum to an urban war zone. In the Greater Khartoum area, 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 4000 people, according to August figures from the United Nations. 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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