Flames Destroy Landmark Tower as Sudan War Enters Sixth Month 

This picture taken on September 17, 2023 shows a raging fire at the Greater Nile Petroleum Oil Company Tower in Khartoum. (AFP)
This picture taken on September 17, 2023 shows a raging fire at the Greater Nile Petroleum Oil Company Tower in Khartoum. (AFP)
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Flames Destroy Landmark Tower as Sudan War Enters Sixth Month 

This picture taken on September 17, 2023 shows a raging fire at the Greater Nile Petroleum Oil Company Tower in Khartoum. (AFP)
This picture taken on September 17, 2023 shows a raging fire at the Greater Nile Petroleum Oil Company Tower in Khartoum. (AFP)

One of Sudan's main landmarks, a skyscraper that towered over the River Nile and housed the headquarters of a major oil company, has been reduced to a smoldering wreck amid heavy fighting between rival military factions in the capital.

The Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company head office, a glass-sided tower topped with a coil of metal, was built during an oil boom before South Sudan declared independence in 2011, and was one of Sudan's most costly constructions.

Flames and smoke rose from the building in a financial district of Khartoum, close to the confluence of the Blue and White Niles and to areas fought over by Sudan's army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

It is unclear what caused the fire that burned through the tower from Saturday. The RSF accused the army of targeting it along with other important buildings amid efforts to dislodge paramilitary fighters from positions they occupied across the capital early in the conflict.

There was no immediate comment from the army.

The war between the army and the RSF broke out in mid-April when tensions linked to an internationally-backed plan for a political transition boiled over, four years after long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir was overthrown during a popular uprising.

The conflict has caused widespread clashes, looting and shortages of food and medicine in Khartoum and other cities, driving more than 5 million people from their homes.



Sudan's RSF Agrees with UN on Steps to Ease Aid Delivery

Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
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Sudan's RSF Agrees with UN on Steps to Ease Aid Delivery

Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

Sudan's Rapid Support Forces agreed with the United Nations on some steps to ease aid delivery in areas under its control, a member of the RSF told Reuters on Thursday.

The Sudanese army has not reached any understandings on aid delivers with the RSF, he added. It is unclear if these steps could be implemented without the army's participation.

Meanwhile, a key supply route into Sudan's Darfur region, deemed at risk of famine by a global monitor, has been cut off due to heavy rains, a World Food Program official told Reuters on Thursday.
The UN agency has described Sudan as the world's biggest hunger crisis, with the western Darfur region most at risk as Sudan's 15-month civil war that has displaced millions and sparked ethnic violence grinds on.
WFP's Country Director Eddie Rowe said thousands of tons of aid are stranded at the Tina crossing on the Chad border, prompting the body to reopen talks with the army-aligned government to open an alternative, all-weather crossing further south called Adre.
"You have these huge rivers. As I speak now, our convoy, which is supposed to move over 2000 metric tons is stranded," he told Reuters from Port Sudan. Asked on the status of the talks that resumed this week, he said: "It's 50/50.”
WFP is now seeking clearances to move a large 70-truck convoy via a little-used, over 1000 kilometer route from Port Sudan to Darfur which Rowe said will involve crossing the battle lines of both the Sudan Armed Forces, the Rapid Support Forces and various militias.
He added that this mostly desert route has worked in the past but outside of the rainy season and that the last journey took weeks and was "fraught with a lot of challenges.”
In a separate interview, Mona Rishmawi, a member of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Sudan, told Reuters that she had met Darfur refugees in Chad who told her stories of escaping with virtually no water and eating grass along the route. "There's no doubt that people are starving," she said.