The army does not dispute RSF’s statement, but says the fighting is ongoing in Singa, the capital of Sennar state.

Paramilitary forces battling Sudan’s army for more than a year say they have captured a key state capital in the war-torn country’s southeast.

“We have liberated the 17th Infantry Division from Singa [the capital of Sennar state],” the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) announced on X on Saturday.

Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan, reporting from the capital Khartoum, said the RSF is gaining control of an increasing number of territories across Sudan, especially in eastern and western parts of the country’s south.

“They already control a large portion of the Darfur region, with the exception of el-Fasher, which is the only remaining city under the army’s and allied groups’ control,” she said.

Morgan said the Sudanese army does not dispute the RSF’s statement that it has taken control of the 17th Infantry Division.

“However, they say their forces are still present in the city and they are still fighting,” she said. “What we can definitely confirm is civilians have witnessed clashes and many of them have started leaving the city since yesterday [Saturday] and more people are leaving the city this [Sunday] morning.”

Millions displaced

Sudan has been gripped by war since April 2023, when fighting erupted between forces loyal to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the RSF led by his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.

The conflict in the country of 48 million has killed tens of thousands, displaced millions and triggered one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

The latest RSF breakthrough means they are closing in on Port Sudan on the Red Sea, where the army, government and the United Nations agencies are now based.

The RSF controls most of the capital Khartoum, Gezira state in the centre of the country, the vast western region of Darfur and much of Kordofan to the south.

Sennar state is already home to more than one million displaced Sudanese. It connects central Sudan to the army-controlled southeast.

Posts on social media showed thousands of people fleeing in vehicles and on foot, and witnesses told the AFP news agency that “thousands of people have taken refuge” on the east bank of the Blue Nile river east of Singa.

RSF forces are also besieging and seeking to capture the town of el-Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state, the agency said.

On Thursday, a global hunger monitor said nearly 26 million people are facing high levels of “acute food insecurity” in Sudan.

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