Iconic skyscraber in flames

Written by Jakob A. Overgaard

Sep.17 - 2023 11:52 PM CET

The iconic 'Greater Nile Petroleum Oil Company Tower' in Sudan's capital, Khartoum, was engulfed in flames on Sunday evening, painting a grim picture of the escalating conflict in the region.

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Images circulating in the media show the towering structure being consumed by the inferno, a sight that has left many in shock and despair.

The situation in Khartoum is dire, with the skyscraper's fire being a testament to the intensity of the ongoing conflict. Multiple international outlets, including the BBC, have reported on the incident.

The cause of the fire is believed to be a series of airstrikes, a consequence of the current strife in the country. The devastation has deeply affected the architect of the building, with the BBC highlighting the structure as one of the nation's landmarks.

For nearly five months, Sudan has been embroiled in an armed conflict between the country's army and the RSF (Rapid Support Forces). The tension between Sudan's army chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and RSF's leader, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who was once al-Burhan's deputy, has reached a boiling point.

The ramifications of this conflict are evident in the mass exodus from Khartoum. Over 2.8 million residents have fled the capital, a significant number considering the city's pre-conflict population of approximately five million.

In a related development, the UN's special envoy to Sudan, Volker Perthes of Germany, resigned from his position. His decision was influenced by several factors, including being declared a persona non grata in Sudan, which prevented him from staying in the country. Perthes had served as the special envoy for roughly two and a half years.

The Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs had previously declared Perthes a persona non grata after he condemned the "crimes against humanity" occurring in Sudan. Expressing his concerns, Perthes mentioned that what started as a conflict between two military factions might be on the brink of evolving into a full-blown civil war.

Adding to the country's woes, over the weekend, a devastating airstrike targeted a market in Khartoum, resulting in the death of at least 40 individuals. This incident marked the deadliest single attack in the ongoing military conflict that has lasted almost five months.