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Sudanese seek alternatives as civil war hits fuel supply

Smoke rises above buildings after aerial bombardment, during clashes between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and the army in Khartoum North, Sudan. File photo
| Photo Credit: REUTERS

In war-torn Sudan, where chaos and fuel shortages have ground normal motor traffic to a halt, people once more rely on donkey carts — even for urgent trips to the hospital.

In a small town south of the capital Khartoum, Hussein Ali has been busy carting patients to a clinic on a rickety wooden carriage that now serves as an ambulance.

“Just an hour ago, I brought a woman who went into labour in a village 15 kilometre away,” Mr. Ali said near a clinic in Tamboul, Al-Jazira State.

“The carriage is the only way to get patients from villages to the hospital,” he said of his vehicle, called a caro in Sudanese Arabic and now once more a common sight in many States.

Sudan has been rocket by a brutal civil war that has killed thousands — including up to 15,000 in a single Darfur town, according to UN experts — and displaced millions since last April.

The conflict has pitted the regular army of de facto leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan against the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of his former deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.

Since the RSF overran Al-Jazira State, fuel suppliers from army-controlled areas “have not resupplied petrol stations in Al-Jazira”, said a petrol station worker who requested anonymity.

Civilians have been left stranded without regular road transport as the RSF has set up checkpoints and petrol stations have run dry. The price for scarce fuel rose 20-fold to 25,000 Sudanese pounds or about $20 a litre.

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