UN Warns of Risks of New Front Opening in Sudan’s Darfur Region

Sat Apr 20 2024
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UNITED NATIONS, United States: Senior UN officials Friday warned the Security Council of new flashpoint in Sudan’s Darfur region.

They warned of the risks of a new front opening around the town of el-Fasher in Darfur, where the population is already on the brink of starvation.

After a year of war between the paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces (FSR), under the command of General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo and the armed forces (SAF) of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the country is experiencing “a crisis of epic proportions… wholly man-made,” denounced UN under-secretary-general for political and peacebuilding affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo.

“The warring parties have ignored repeated calls to cease their hostilities… Instead, they have stepped up preparations for further fighting, with both the SAF and the RSF continuing their campaigns to recruit civilians,” DiCarlo said.

In particular, she raised concern at reports of a possible “imminent” attack by the RSF on el-Fasher, the only capital of the five Darfur states it does not control, “raising the specter of a new front in the conflict.”

El-Fasher acts as a humanitarian hub for Darfur, which is home to around 25 percent of Sudan’s 48 million inhabitants.

Until recently, the town had been relatively unaffected by the fighting, hosting a large number of refugees. But since mid-April, clashes and bombardments have been reported in the surrounding towns.

“Since then, there have been continuing reports of clashes in the eastern and northern parts of the city, resulting in more than 36,000 people displaced,” said a director for the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Edem Wosornu, noting that Doctors Without Borders has treated more than 100 casualties in El-Fasher in recent days.

“The total number of civilian casualties is likely much higher.”

More than 20 years ago, the region was devastated by the scorched-earth policy pursued by the Janjaweed (a militia that later joined the RSF) on behalf of then-President Omar al-Bashir.

According to the United Nations, Sudan’s new conflict, which began on April 15, 2023, has so far killed thousands and displaced more than 8.5 million people.


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