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Sudan’s Cultural Heritage Under Siege as Civil War Escalates

Museums and Cultural Centers Fall Victim to Destruction and Looting Amidst Sudan's Civil War

In the wake of the civil war that erupted in Sudan on April 15, the country’s cultural heritage is under severe threat. Numerous cultural centers, museums, and research centers have fallen victim to destruction, looting, and military occupation.

Among the significant losses are the archives of The Mohamed Omer Bashir Centre for Sudanese Studies at Omdurman Ahlia University and The Abdul Karim Mirghani Center. The latter was in the midst of digitizing their extensive archive of labor movements in Sudan.

The Performing Arts Theatre in el Geneina has been reduced to ashes, while the Sultan Bahruddin Museum and the National History Museum in Khartoum have seen their collections obliterated by bombing.

In response to this cultural catastrophe, Sudan’s National Corporation of Antiquities and Museums (NCAM) and the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) are collaborating to devise a preservation strategy, which may include the evacuation of artifacts.

The documentation of damage to cultural institutions and sites at risk is a crucial endeavor during times of conflict. This effort aids in the creation of a database that can facilitate the recovery of looted works and the protection of endangered institutions and their collections.

The human toll of the conflict is also staggering, with 1.7 million Sudanese people displaced internally and an additional 528,000 people fleeing across borders to escape the war.