More than 10,400 people have been killed so far, according to one conservative estimate by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project. With hospitals largely not working and many dead being buried uncounted at home, the true toll is thought to be significantly, if not several times higher.

The United Nations estimates Sudan now has more displaced people than any other global crisis. Some six million people have fled their homes, many to neighbouring Chad and Central African Republic, while roughly half the nearly 50 million population are thought to need food aid.

Charities on the ground have warned that the atrocities committed particularly in West Darfur are a grim echo of the massacres seen during the region’s genocide 20 years ago.

A crisis with few equals

Clementine Nkweta-Salami, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Sudan, said last week: “What is happening is verging on pure evil.”

She warned “the situation is horrific and grim” and “frankly, we are running out of words to describe the horror of what is happening.” She stressed that “the Sudan crisis has few equals.”

The war broke out when a long-simmering rivalry between the de-facto president, Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and his deputy, Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagaloa, known as Hemedti, boiled over. Hemedti controls the RSF.

It has had horrendous humanitarian consequences, but also threatens terrible geopolitical repercussions, observers fear.

Cameron Hudson, of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies think tank, said earlier this week that the prospects of a clean end to the conflict “appear non-existent”.

While the RSF has won some recent victories, seizing cities in Darfur, he said neither side “has demonstrated the ability to deliver a knockout blow and, in the process, continues to deliver devastating consequences to civilians”.

The resulting division of the country into fiefdoms belonging to the warring sides has led some to foresee a collapse similar to the chaos reported in Sudan’s northern neighbour, Libya.

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