One of Sudan’s most prominent singers, Shaden Gardood, has been killed in crossfire in the Sudanese city of Omdurman.
Gardood died amid clashes between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on Friday.
The 37-year-old’s death came only one day after the warring parties signed a deal to alleviate civilian suffering.
Fighting erupted in Sudan in April over a vicious power struggle within the country’s military leadership.
Gardood lived in the al-Hashmab neighbourhood, where RSF presence has increased in recent days.
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 then wrote the Islamic phrase used when a person dies: “inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un”.
In a video which 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 neighbourhood, 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 neighbourhood 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 marginalised 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 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 under the request of regional powers, but none were upheld.
The clashes have not stopped as the fighter jets continue hovering over the entire city.