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In the third month of conflict, Sudan slips into crisis

In the third month of conflict, Sudan slips into crisis

The war between rival generals enters its third month on Thursday with no end in sight in Sudan, where planes bombed a southern town for the first time and the regular army accused paramilitaries of “abducting and murdering” a governor in Darfur.

The air force carried out “air strikes for the first time on El-Obeid”, a town 350 kilometers south of the capital Khartoum, “which has been encircled by paramilitary forces since the beginning of the fighting”, several witnesses told AFP.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the Sudanese army accused paramilitaries from the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of having “abducted and murdered” the governor of West Darfur state, Khamis Abdallah Abakar, describing the incident as a “brutal act”.

This alleged assassination means that the Rapid Support Forces have added a “new line to their list of barbaric crimes committed against all the Sudanese people”, the army said on Facebook.

The governor’s death could not be independently confirmed by AFP.

The fighting, which began on April 15, has so far been concentrated mainly in Khartoum, the capital of five million inhabitants, and in the vast Darfur region in the west.

This war between the army of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces of General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo has claimed more than 1,800 lives, according to the NGO ACLED.

More than 2.2 million people have fled their homes across the country, including over a million from the capital Khartoum, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). More than 528,000 of these displaced people have taken refuge in neighboring countries, according to the UN agency.

Civilians who have not fled have “no food, water or medicine left”, Ahmed Taha, a Khartoum resident, told AFP.

“We have nothing left. The country is devastated. Wherever you look, you see the impact of bombs and bullets”, according to this witness.

Aid conference in Sudan

For several weeks, Saudi Arabia and the United States mediated negotiations between the two sides in the Saudi city of Jeddah, with a view to obtaining a ceasefire.

However, the numerous truces announced have hardly ever been respected, and humanitarian aid has remained blocked or has reached civilians in very insufficient quantities.

Twenty-five million of the 45 million inhabitants of Sudan, one of the world’s poorest countries, now depend on humanitarian aid for survival, according to the UN.

On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia announced that an international conference on aid to Sudan would be held on June 19.

For his part, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delegation in Sudan, Alfonso Verdu Perez, lamented on Friday that “only 20% of health facilities are still functioning in Khartoum”.

Entire districts are without running water, and electricity only works for a few hours a week.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) “strongly condemned” the “growing attacks on health facilities”, stating that between April 15 and June 8, 46 such attacks had left eight people dead and 18 wounded.

“We have been suffering and are still suffering from this war for two months,” testified Soha Abdelrahmane, a resident of Khartoum, adding that several towns in Darfur, such as El-Geneina and Nyala, are in a “state of siege”.

Crimes against humanity

The head of the UN mission in Sudan, Volker Perthes, said on Tuesday that he was “particularly alarmed” by the situation in Darfur, where the violence could constitute “crimes against humanity”.

“Large-scale attacks on civilians, based on their ethnic origins, allegedly committed by Arab militias and armed men in RSF uniforms are very worrying”, he explained.

The Umma party, the country’s main political formation, claimed on Wednesday that El-Geneina, the capital of West Darfur, had turned into a “disaster zone”, calling on international organizations to send aid.

The party called the violence there a “humanitarian crime in its own right” and estimated in a statement that more than 1,000 people had died “during an abject siege and systematic violence against citizens”.

Darfur was devastated in the 2000s by a civil war that left some 300,000 people dead and nearly 2.5 million displaced, according to the UN.

Source: Africa News

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Ayser ibn Qasim

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