A US embassy convoy in Sudan was fired upon in a “reckless” and “irresponsible” incident, the US secretary of state said.
Following Monday’s incident, Antony Blinken phoned the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) leader General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, and Sudan’s army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan to warn them that any danger posed to American diplomats was unacceptable.
The people in the diplomatic convoy are safe, Mr Blinken said, adding: “We have deep concerns, of course, about the overall security environment as it affects civilians, as it affects diplomats, as it affects aid workers.”
Fighting in Sudan has killed at least 185 people and injured more than 1,800 others as both sides claimed gains in a conflict that has seen the use of air strikes and artillery.
Clashes have continued despite numerous calls from the US and other countries for a halt to fighting, as well as efforts by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates to get the rivals to agree to a ceasefire.
Tensions had been escalating between army head General al Burhan and RSF chief General Dagalo. A power pact between the two sides has now broken down and the resulting violence has once again seen Sudan’s civilians caught in the crossfire.
Their deadly struggle for control has derailed a shift to civilian rule and raised fears of a wider conflict.
Why has violence erupted in Sudan?
Dramatic before-and-after images show impact of deadly clashes
While the army is larger and has air power, the RSF is widely deployed inside neighbourhoods of Khartoum and other cities, giving neither faction the edge for a quick victory.
Speaking to Sky News, General al Burhan said he was open to negotiations as the fighting continues.
“If negotiations will restore the country and are fair then it’s possible,” he added.
General al Burhan heads a ruling council installed after a 2021 coup and the 2019 ousting of veteran leader Omar Bashir during mass protests.
Khartoum is a city unused to violence, but on Monday smoke hung over the capital as residents reported a clamour of airstrikes, artillery fire and shooting that shut hospitals.
The conflict in the capital and its adjoining sister cities of Omdurman and Bahri since Saturday is the worst in decades.
The fighting has also spread to the war-wrecked western Darfur region, and areas of northern and eastern Sudan, near the borders with Egypt and Ethiopia.