Sudanese conflict spreads, worsening humanitarian crisis


A dire situation is unfolding in Sudan as the ongoing fighting expands to previously unaffected areas, exacerbating the already desperate need for relief supplies.

Aid agencies reported on Friday that warring factions in Sudan are confiscating crucial relief items.

The 10-week-old conflict between top generals has now reached regions that were previously untouched.

In a display of support for the regular army, demonstrations took place on Friday in greater Khartoum and in White Nile state.

Frustrated civilians expressed their anger over the widespread appropriation of private homes by rival paramilitary groups, particularly the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), witnesses confirmed.

The power struggle between army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his former deputy, RSF commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, has resulted in the loss of more than 2,000 lives since April 15, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project.

While Greater Khartoum and the troubled Darfur region have been the primary battlegrounds, this week saw an escalation of hostilities in the Kordofan region, which has long been plagued by rebellion.

Eyewitnesses reported renewed artillery exchanges and street fighting in Khartoum on Friday. Clashes between the army and the RSF were also observed in North Kordofan state, several hundred kilometers to the south.

According to the United Nations, a staggering 25 million people, more than half of Sudan’s population, require aid and protection. Despite some limited relief supplies trickling in, aid agencies are facing significant obstacles in their operations.

The Norwegian Refugee Council’s William Carter highlighted the blatant restrictions on humanitarian workers and aid supplies, leaving millions in dire need stranded.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) encountered similar challenges, with permits being delayed, rejected, rescinded, or disregarded altogether. Armed groups have confiscated supplies, while MSF staff have been subjected to physical violence and threats.

The Sudanese doctors’ union reported that “two-thirds of health facilities in the main conflict areas are currently out of service.”

“Medical personnel have been deliberately targeted amidst widespread violations against civilians,” the report unveiled.

In Khartoum alone, the governmental Combating Violence Against Women and Children Unit recorded at least 36 cases of sexual violence, with the majority of survivors accusing RSF fighters. However, the unit emphasized that the reported and documented cases represent only a fraction of the actual figures. Assessing the situation in the deteriorating western region of Darfur has become increasingly challenging.

Diplomatic efforts to broker a ceasefire have reached a standstill, following violations by both sides during the last 72-hour truce, which concluded on Wednesday. The United States, in collaboration with Saudi Arabia, had facilitated the truce but announced on Thursday that mediation efforts were on hold.

Molly Phee, the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, informed the House Foreign Affairs Committee that the talks had been adjourned due to their ineffective format.

She acknowledged that while the ceasefires allowed for the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance, they were not fully effective.

Critics have raised concerns about Washington’s handling of the ceasefire negotiations in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, suggesting that they were doomed to fail. Sudan specialist Alex de Waal criticized the mediators, stating that the sanctions imposed by the US on both sides following the collapse of a previous ceasefire would not yield results unless a comprehensive strategy was developed.

In the meantime, Sudan continues to suffer, with the situation growing increasingly dire.

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