Sudan Fighting: Despite a truce that was recently agreed upon by warring parties in Sudan, gun battles and explosions continued to erupt in the capital city on Monday.
The United Nations has warned that the country’s humanitarian crisis has push it close to its “breaking point”. The violence which has persisted for three weeks now, ,has caused tens of thousands of Sudanese citizens to flee to neighbouring countries like Egypt, Chad, and the Central African Republic.
Since the fighting began on April 15 between Sudan’s army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who leads the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, over 500 people have been reported dead.
Millions of citizens in and around the capital city are trapped in their homes without adequate food, water, and power, while fighter jets conduct bombing raids that draw heavy anti-aircraft fire.
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“Warplanes are flying over southern Khartoum and anti-aircraft guns are firing at them,” one resident said, while another witness told AFP he was also hearing “loud gunfire”.
Gun battles and explosions continue to ravage Sudan’s capital, raising the humanitarian crisis to a critical level, according to the United Nations.
While foreign countries have evacuated thousands of their citizens through air, road, and sea, some 50,000 Sudanese have fled to neighbouring countries by land.
In response to the crisis, the UN refugee agency has established makeshift camps along the Chad border to provide emergency food rations and shelter to families who have fled the violence with limited possessions.
“Today I have no food for my children and no means of work,” one refugee, Mahamat Hassan Hamad told AFP. “My sewing machines were taken by the attackers.”
The situation in Sudan has been dire for aid workers, as they have been targeted by violence and other attacks. Hospitals have also been bombed, while humanitarian facilities have been looted. Many foreign aid groups have had to halt most of their operations in the country worsening the crisis, leaving millions of Sudanese in urgent need of aid and support.
“The scale and speed of what is unfolding is unprecedented in Sudan,” said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Chief Antonio Guteres. “We are extremely concerned by the immediate as well as long-term impact on all people in Sudan, and the broader region.”
Leading humanitarian official of the UN, Martin Griffiths, is en route to the affected area to assist in providing aid to the millions of people whose lives have been suddenly upended.
“The humanitarian situation is reaching breaking point,” Dujarric said.
According to Sudan’s health ministry, the current death toll from the ongoing violence is at least 528 people with nearly 4,600 wounded, although fears persist that the actual figure could be significantly higher.
The conflict has spread throughout Sudan, including to the historically troubled Darfur region, where at least 96 people were reportedly killed in El Geneina, West Darfur. Hospitals in the area have been severely damaged, with medical supplies strewn across their floors.
The Rapid Support Forces (RSF), led by General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, are at the forefront of the fighting. The RSF were once a part of the notorious Janjaweed, which carried out a scorched-earth campaign in Darfur from 2003.
Daglo and Burhan came to power in 2019 following the ousting of former strongman Omar al-Bashir, who is currently facing charges of was crimes and genocide.
The Central Reserve Police are now being deployed accross Khartoum to protect citizens’ properties from looting. The US Treasury Department sanctioned the Central Reserve for “serious human rights abuses” related to “excessive force” against pro-democracy protests after the 2021 coup.
The unrest has created additional concerns for the UN as it fears the fighting could further increase the number of people in the country who need humanitarian assistance to stave off famine.
The UN World Health Organization warns that only 16% of Khartoum’s health facilities are functioning, which could lead to a growing threat of cholera, malaria and other diseases as the rainy season approaches and safe water supplies become scarce.
The situation has caused regional powers to become involved in negotiations to help end the violence. An envoy of Burhan’s met with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan in Riyadh to discuss the need for calm in Sudan.
Egypt proposed a draft resolution calling for an “immediate and comprehensive cessation” of fighting.
And in an effort to provide aid to those affected, the UN World Food Programme has resumed its activities in Sudan, and the Red Cross has sent a plane with eight tonnes of medical supplies from Jordan to Port Sudan, which has served as an evacuation hub.