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UN envoy on aftermath of ‘unprecedented’ war in Sudan

Combatants of the Fast Support Force in the East Nile District of Greater Khartoum.This image taken from a video released by a paramilitary group

The UN chief of humanitarian affairs is heading to the Sudan region because of a “rapidly worsening humanitarian crisis” in the conflict-ridden country, the UN secretary-general said.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ announcement came shortly after the rival Sudanese military announced the extension of the ceasefire.

The battle pits the forces of former lieutenant Mohammed Hamdan Dagro, who commands the Rapid Support Force (RSF), a heavily armed militia, against Army Secretary Abdel Fattah Al-Bahhan.

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More than 500 people have died and tens of thousands have been displaced since fighting began on April 15.

Guterres spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said, “The scale and speed of what is unfolding in Sudan is unprecedented. We are very concerned about the impact of this,” he said in a statement.

He said the UN secretary-general, “in light of the rapidly worsening humanitarian crisis in Sudan,” was dispatching his emergency relief coordinator, Martin Griffiths, to the area “immediately.”

The latest widely broken truce was set to officially expire at midnight (2200 GMT) before the hostile forces announced a 72-hour extension.

Witnesses on Sunday night reported continued clashes and fighter jets flying over various parts of the capital and its twin city Omdurman across the Nile.

The Civil Aviation Authority has announced that Sudanese airspace will remain closed until May 13, except for aid and evacuation flights.

“There was very heavy fighting and loud gunfire,” a resident of southern Khartoum told AFP earlier in the day.

The Sudanese police confirmed the army’s statement and said a paramilitary force, the Central Reserve Police, had been deployed throughout Khartoum to “protect civilian property,” further complicating the battlefield.

Police said the Central Reserve had arrested 316 “mutineers”, a reference to the RSF, which did not confirm the information and had previously warned police not to join the fighting. Was.

Washington last year sanctioned the Central Reserve Bank for “gross human rights violations” related to the use of “excessive force” against the pro-democracy movement after the October 2021 coup that brought Barhan and Dagro to power. was imposed.

Dagro’s RSF are descendants of the Janjaweed released by former dictator Omar al-Bashir in the Darfur region of western Sudan, leading to war crimes charges against Bashir and others.

– “Forbidden” –

With bullets pounding homes, supplies in short supply, and everyday life becoming increasingly difficult for civilians, other countries are scrambling to evacuate their citizens by air, road and sea.

But millions of Sudanese are still trapped in the country and aid workers are dying. The United Nations said humanitarian aid facilities had been looted, forcing the suspension of all aid operations.

Dujarric urged all parties to the conflict to “protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, allow safe passage for civilians fleeing areas of hostilities, respect humanitarian workers and assets, and support relief efforts.” We reiterate our call for respect for medical personnel, transportation and facilities.”

The first Red Cross plane carried 8 tons of humanitarian aid from Jordan to Port Sudan. Aid included surgical instruments and medical kits to stabilize 1,500 patients.

About 4,600 people were injured and at least 528 died in the violence, the health ministry said on Saturday.

These numbers may be incomplete.

The United Nations World Food Program warned that insecurity could push millions more to starvation in a country where 15 million people already need help to stem famine.

According to the World Health Organization, only 16% of health facilities in Khartoum are functioning and many are under shelling.

“This situation cannot be sustained” due to lack of medical supplies, warned Majizoub Saad Ibrahim, a doctor at Ad Damar, north of Khartoum.

Burhan’s envoy met with Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Crown Prince Faisal bin Farhan in Riyadh on Sunday, who urged the restoration of peace in Sudan, his minister said.

Egypt convened an Arab League meeting of permanent representatives on Monday to discuss the situation.

– “Dangerous condition” –

According to the United Nations, more than 75,000 people are internally displaced in Sudan, and nearly 40,000 have crossed the border, mainly into Chad, but also South Sudan and Ethiopia, aid officials said. says.

About 6,000 people, mostly women, have fled to the neighboring Central African Republic in the past two weeks, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees told AFP.

More than 5,000 people have safely escaped across the Red Sea from Port Sudan on Saudi ships, according to the Kingdom.

Among them is her Omani husband and son Badria al-Said, who joined about 50 evacuees who arrived in Jeddah on a Saudi warship on Sunday.

Said told AFP he was grateful for their safety but couldn’t shake the feeling that he had “lost his country.”

Britain said it would operate additional evacuation flights from Port Sudan on Monday after having already flown more than 2,000 people out of the country from an airport near Khartoum.

In addition to fighting in the capital, fighting, looting and lawlessness in the long-troubled Darfur region have caused particular international concern.

At least 96 people have been reported dead in El Geneina, West Darfur, according to the United Nations.


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https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/clashes-rock-sudan-despite-truce-as-expm-warns-of-nightmare/news-story/f641190f7c57472adf27a999e3742b62 UN envoy on aftermath of ‘unprecedented’ war in Sudan

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