Sudan crisis: Sudanese singer Shaden Gardood killed in crossfire
Shaden Gardood One of Sudan’s most prominent singers was killed by crossfire in Omdurman, the Sudanese capital.
Gardood was killed in clashes on Friday between the Sudanese Army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.
The death of the 37-year-old came just one day after warring parties had signed an agreement to ease civilian suffering.
In April, fighting broke out in Sudan over a brutal power struggle among the country’s military leadership.
Gardood was a resident of the al-Hashmab neighborhood, where RSF has been increasing its presence in recent months.
Her niece, Heraa Hassan Mohammed, confirmed her death on Facebook and said: “She was like a mother and a beloved to me, we were just chatting, may God give her mercy.”
She wrote then the Islamic phrase for when someone dies: “inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilayhi Raji’un”.
In a video that circulated on social media, Gardood said she was trying to hide from the shelling and asked her son to close the windows.
She could be heard saying: “Go away from the doors and the windows… in the name of Allah, we are going to die ready wearing our full clothes… you should wear this, we will die in a better shape.”
Gardood regularly made live videos on Facebook talking about the clashes and shelling in her neighborhood, and she wrote intensively against the war.
In one of her last posts on Facebook, she said: “We have been trapped in our houses for 25 days… we are hungry and living in an enormous fear, but are full of ethics and values,” referring to looting across Khartoum, the capital of Sudan.
Gardood lived near the national television and radio building, which has been a battlefield from the first day of the war.
The RSF was guarding the building and they came under constant shelling by fighter jets, with on-the-ground clashes between the two forces.
One resident living in the same neighborhood as Gardood said: “Last night, the clashes were violent and intense, which lasted for long hours with fighter jets hovering over all night last night.
“But what I observed is that the clashes were a bit less immediately after Shaden was injured, then we continued to hear the sound from afar.”
The resident said that Gardood later died of her wounds.
Gardood is survived by her 15-year-old son, Hamoudy, and her mother and sister.
The fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the RSF has been taking place in Khartoum for almost four weeks.
The conflict erupted in mid-April when the RSF refused to be integrated into Sudan’s army under a planned transition to civilian rule.
More than 600 civilians have died and more than 4,000 injured, closing down about 80% of the hospitals with severe food, water, and electricity shortages.
Gardood was originally from South Kordofan state, a war zone area since 2011, before she resided in Khartoum with her family.
She sang for peace and security in her region and promoted the culture of her marginalized community, al-Bagara, in South Kordofan, playing the role of Hakama – traditional poets in western Sudan who encourage men to go for fighting – for peace.
As well as being a singer, Gardood was a researcher in the al-Bagara Melodies and presented papers on the legacy of the Hakamas in the past and present.
A number of public figures were killed in Khartoum in the past few weeks, among them Sudan’s first professional actress, Asia Abdelmajid, who died in the crossfire at the age of 80.
Former footballer Fozi el-Mardi, 72, was also killed only a few days after the death of his daughter who was killed in a crossfire in Omdurman.
Four days after the start of the war, constant ceasefires were announced at the request of regional powers, but none were upheld.
The clashes have not stopped as the fighter jets continue hovering over the entire city.