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Crisis in Sudan:100,000 people flee fighting – UN

More than 100,000 people have fled Sudan since bitter fighting broke out between rival fighters on April 15, according to the United Nations. Officials warned that “a complete catastrophe” would result if the fighting continued. Another 334,000 people became refugees within Sudan. Fighting continues between the army and the Paramilitary Rapid Support Force (RSF) in the capital, Khartoum, despite the fact that there should be a ceasefire.

Diplomatic efforts to bring belligerents to the negotiating table are intensifying.

On Tuesday, South Sudan’s Foreign Ministry said the military and the RSF had agreed “in principle” to a new seven-day ceasefire starting May 4 and promised to send representatives to join the negotiations.

It statement came a day after the United Nations special envoy to Sudan Volker Perthes told the AP news agency that the two sides had agreed to negotiate a “stable and credible” ceasefire.

He added that Saudi Arabia was a potential venue for negotiations. If talks take place, it will be the first meeting between the two sides since the beginning of the conflict.

According to the Sudanese Ministry of Health, more than 500 people have been killed and more than 4,000 injured in the fighting. Many temporary ceasefires were not observed and the military continued airstrikes against Khartoum in an attempt to undermine the RSF.

A paramilitary group claimed to have shot down a MiG fighter over the city, but there is no independent confirmation of this claim.

Fierce fighting also took place in Darfur, in western Sudan. UNHCR spokeswoman Olga Sarado told reporters in Geneva that the 100,000 include people from Sudan, South Sudanese returning home and refugees already in Sudan fleeing the fighting.

Refugees also fled across Sudan’s border with Egypt to the north and Chad to the west.

Most European countries have already completed evacuating their citizens, but Russia said on Tuesday that it had sent four military planes to evacuate more than 200 people including their own citizens and those belonging to “friendly nations” from Sudan.

In Khartoum, food, water and electricity are running out, but desperately needed supplies of aid transported by the United Nations to Port Sudan are being held up because of the violence. Meanwhile, rampant looting meant there was no safe way to transport them.

World Health Organization (WHO) regional director Ahmed al-Mandhari said medical facilities had been attacked in Khartoum and some were being used as military bases. “To date, approximately 26 attacks have been reported targeting healthcare facilities.

Some of these attacks have resulted in the deaths of healthcare workers and civilians at these hospitals.” he told the BBC. “Also, you know that some of these hospitals are used as military bases and they’ve kicked staff and patients out of these medical facilities,” he added.

On Monday, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator in Sudan, Abdou Dieng, said more than two weeks of brutal fighting threatened to turn the country’s humanitarian crisis into a “total disaster”.

“Even before the current crisis, a third of Sudan’s population, nearly 16 million people, was in need of humanitarian assistance. About 3.7 million people have been internally displaced, mainly in Darfur,” he said.

 

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