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Humanitarian crisis looms as hundreds killed in Sudan clashes

Sudan’s ongoing clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have left over 180 people dead and close to 2,000 injured according to the UN.

For years, Sudan’s clashes between the military and various armed groups have continued to destabilize the country’s economy.

However, the current conflict that began last Saturday and is still ongoing between Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) can be traced back to 2019 when protests against the government of President Omar al-Bashir began and he was later ousted in a military coup the same year.

In 2019, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the chief of Sudan’s army, and General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), were once allies who collaborated to orchestrate a military coup that halted Sudan’s transition towards democratic governance.

A transitional military council was established to govern the country upon al-Bashir’s ousting.

The population called for a civilian-led government through a nationwide protest leading to a power-sharing agreement signed between the military council and civilian representatives, paving the way for a transitional government takeover.

The transitional government was tasked with preparing the country for democratic elections.

With the ongoing clashes, according to the UN’s Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sudan Mr. Volker Perthes, he made an appeal to both parties, urging them to immediately halt the fighting to safeguard the wellbeing of the Sudanese people and prevent any further violence.

Local reports indicate that over 180 people have been killed, including three UN workers and close to 2,000 injured while thousands displaced.

The number is expected to rise as clashes continue to hit the country’s major cities and towns despite calls from international organizations and leaders for the two groups to have peace.

The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) which was formed as a branch of the Sudanese military, has been accused of committing human rights abuses, including killing civilians and committing acts of torture. The Sudanese government has blamed the group for the recent surge in violence, accusing it of seeking to destabilize the country. The RSF, however, denies the allegations and claims that it is being unfairly targeted by the government.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development IGAD has called for both sides to give dialogue a chance and cease hostilities among its people.

Similarly, UN’s Secretary General António Guterres, in a statement through his spokesperson, ‘The Secretary-General strongly condemns the deaths and injuries of civilians, including the death of three staff members of the World Food Programme in North Darfur, with a further two seriously injured.’

The clashes have forced thousands of people to flee their homes, with many seeking refuge in neighboring countries. Various nations have begun evacuation processes for their citizens for safety purposes amid the conflict. The situation has further affected the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need, as aid workers have been forced to suspend their operations due to the insecurity.

In response, the government has deployed additional troops to the affected areas and has called on the Rapid Support Forces to engage in dialogue.

Sudan has suffered through decades of conflict and instability, and the current situation only underscores the urgent need for a sustainable peace process. Let’s hope the situation is resolved as soon as possible.