CAIRO (AP) — United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Sudan is on the brink of a “full-scale civil war” as fierce clashes between rival generals continued unabated Sunday in the capital of Khartoum.

Guterres warned late Saturday that the war between the Sudanese military and a powerful paramilitary force is likely to destabilize the entire region, according to Farhan Haq, deputy spokesperson for the U.N. chief.

Sudan descended into chaos after months of tension between military chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan and his rival, Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, exploded into open fighting in mid-April.

Health Minister Haitham Mohammed Ibrahim said last month that the clashes have killed over 3,000 people and wounded over 6,000 others. The death tally, however, is highly likely to be much higher, he said. More than 2.9 million people have fled their homes to safer areas inside Sudan or crossed into neighboring countries, according to U.N. figures.

The fighting began 18 months after the two generals led a military coup in October 2021 that toppled a Western-backed civilian transition government. The coup and ensuing conflict dashed Sudanese hopes of a peaceful shift to democracy after a popular uprising forced the military removal of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir in April 2019.

The war has turned the capital Khartoum and other urban areas across the country into battlefields.

Residents in Khartoum said fierce fighting was underway early Sunday south of the capital. The warring factions were using heavy weapons in battles in the Kalaka neighborhood and the military’s aircraft were seen hovering over the area, said resident Abdalla al-Fatih.

In his statement, Guterres also condemned an airstrike Saturday that health authorities said killed at least 22 people in Omdurman, a city just across the Nile from the Khartoum. The assault was one of the deadliest in the conflict so far.

The RSF blamed the military for the attack in Omdurman. The military denied the accusation, saying in a statement Sunday that its air force didn’t carry out any airstrikes in the city Saturday.

-Associated Press