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ALM Feature

Sudan's war devastates cultural heritage as rival generals vie for power

Sudan’s civil war is now well into its second year, and alongside forcing the population to the brink of famine, warring parties have also come for its heritage.
This picture taken on April 24, 2018, shows Meroitic pyramids at the archaeological site of Bajarawiya, near Hillat ed Darqab, some 250 kilometers northeast of Khartoum.

Amid the deafening pleas for international intervention in the Gaza Strip, Sudan’s brutal civil war has quietly continued. The war has left a heavy toll not only on the humanitarian situation, but also on Sudan’s heritage and culture.

What began in 2018 as a strategic partnership between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) descended into conflict between the two groups on April 15, 2023.

As the two parties continue to fight for power, the devastation and displacement they have caused recently led the United Nations to describe Sudan as facing the “world's worst hunger crisis.” While official numbers say almost 15,000 people have been killed in the war, several reports suggest the number is 10 times higher, with US Special Envoy for Sudan Tom Perriello saying it could be as high as 150,000. Some 10 million people have been displaced, and 5 million are facing starvation, according to UN agencies.

The SAF, led by Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the RSF, led by Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (known as “Hemedti”), have deployed a number of different strategies to inflict maximum damage upon one another and weaken the civilian population.

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