…The UN Assistant Secretary-General for Africa warned Wednesday (Aug. 09) of a possible prolonged ethnic conflict
Sudan’s escalating conflict has driven more than 4 million people from their homes, according to UN figures.
Ongoing operations in Omdurman were confirmed on Tuesday (Aug. 08), as reports said the Sudanese army stepped up its efforts to advance into the capital.
The region of Darfur in western Sudan has seen some of the worst bouts of violence in the conflict.
“The fighting in Darfur continues to reopen the old wounds of ethnic tension, of past conflicts in the region. The brutal violence experienced in El-Geneina and Sirba are particular examples of this situation. This is deeply worrying and could quickly engulf the country in a prolonged ethnic conflict with regional spillovers.”
Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee who briefed the Security Council on the situation in Sudan called for a return to negotiations.
The United States, which serves as this month’s security council president, called on parties to “put down their weapons.”
Briefing the Council as well was Edem Wosornu, Director of Operations and Advocacy at the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
She said that the situation is particularly alarming in Khartoum, as well as Darfur and Kordofan regions. She added that 80 per cent of hospitals across the country are not functioning, and that 14 million children in Sudan – half of all children in the country – need humanitarian support.”
Wosornu said, “reports of ethnic-based violence in West Darfur are extremely alarming, with numerous civilians killed or wounded,” adding that “the intense fighting and difficult operating environment are constraining our ability to deliver urgent humanitarian assistance, which is urgently required – this is only deepening the suffering of people there.”
The senior OCHA official reiterated, “we need unhindered and unfettered humanitarian access to the people who needs us the most.”
She continued, “in Khartoum, where access to those in need remains enormously challenging, some assistance is being provided with the dwindling resources that are still available locally.
However, Wosornu said that OCHA has not been able to guarantee passage for a humanitarian convoy to the capital to replenish these supplies since late June.
Sudan was plunged into chaos in April when simmering tensions between the leadership of the military and the paramilitary RSF exploded into open fighting.
Sudan’s ambassador to the United Nations Al-Harith Idriss Mohamed pushed back at allegations that aid was being stopped. He said Sudan is committed remaining sovereign and to having a voice in the process.
“Sudan commends the efforts of the League of Arab States and the fraternal country, Egypt, for preserving the sovereignty of the Sudan. And we call upon the international community, the United Nations, and major powers to support the Sudan while it’s facing an externally backed invasion to reach immediate and permanent cease fire and to support the Sudanese people towards a new political process and the national government that will culminate it from this prospective process towards achieving democracy through fair elections,” Mohamed told the council.
The meeting was called by Britain.