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Sudan: UN Calls For End To Military Build-Up In El Fasher

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – UN Security Council members on Saturday called on the warring parties in Sudan to immediately halt the military build-up and take steps to de-escalate the situation in El Fasher, the provincial capital of North Darfur.

The call comes amid reports of an imminent offensive by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and their allied militia against the city, which could threaten the lives of hundreds of thousands of displaced persons currently sheltering there.

In a statement, Security Council members called on SAF and RSF to end the build-up of military forces and to take steps to de-escalate the situation and comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law.

Council members also repeated their call for an immediate cessation of hostilities, leading to a sustainable ceasefire.

They urged all Member States to refrain from external interference that seeks to foment conflict and instability and instead to support efforts for a durable peace.

They also reminded all parties to the conflict and Member States to adhere to their obligations to comply with the arms embargo measures as stipulated in resolutions 1556 (2676) and 2667 (2023).

The UN in a statement on Friday, said there were “alarming reports of a dramatic escalation of tensions in Sudan’s North Darfur state that have left dozens dead and people trapped in El Fasher city.

“The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) are reportedly encircling El Fasher, suggesting a coordinated move to attack the city may be imminent. Simultaneously, the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) appear to be positioning themselves.

“This escalation of tensions is in an area already on the brink of famine. The Secretary-General reiterates his call on all parties to refrain from fighting in the El Fasher area.”

Overall, around 25 million people, or half Sudan’s population, require humanitarian aid, with over eight million forced to flee their homes. More than 14,000 people have been killed and tens of thousands wounded.

Around 1.8 million have fled across the country’s borders trying the escape the brutal fighting.

UN rights chief Volker Türk cited reports that the rival militaries have launched indiscriminate attacks using “mortar shells and rockets fired from fighter jets in residential districts.”

Since the RSF began their push into the state capital, El Fasher, at least 43 people have been reportedly killed, including women and children.

“Civilians are trapped in the city, the only one in Darfur still in the hands of the Sudanese Armed Forces,” and they are afraid of being killed if they attempt to flee, the High Commissioner said.

Türk noted that the dire situation had been made worse by a severe shortage of essential supplies as delivery trucks “are unable to freely transit through Rapid Support Forces-controlled territory.”

He said the RSF had burnt down villages in western El Fasher, including Durma, Umoshosh, Sarafaya and Ozbani, raising the possibility of “further ethnically motivated violence in Darfur, including mass killings.”

In 2023, fighting and attacks between the ethnic Arab Rizeigat tribe and the ethnic African Masalit people in West Darfur left hundreds of civilians dead or injured, thousands displaced, the High Commissioner noted.

He, therefore, called for an end to the more than year-long conflict.

At least 43 people, among them women and children, have been killed in fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and RSF.

The two forces – backed by their respective militia – have been fighting since 14 April, when the RSF began its push into El Fasher, according to the UN human rights office (OHCHR).

The office added that civilians trapped in the city – the only one in Darfur still in the hands of the SAF – are afraid of being killed should they attempt to flee.

The situation is compounded by a severe shortage of essential supplies as deliveries of commercial goods and humanitarian aid have been constrained by the fighting and access challenges through RSF-controlled territory.

Sudan has been plunged into turmoil since fighting erupted between SAF and paramilitary RSF in April, 2023.

More than 14,000 people have been killed and thousands more wounded, amid reports of sexual and gender-based violence.

The war has also displaced over six million civilians within Sudan and a further 1.8 million across its borders, against a backdrop of a massive crisis that has left 25 million people in need of humanitarian aid and protection. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

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