Residents on the Verge of Famine… UN Warns of Emergence of New Front in Sudan

Senior officials at the United Nations warned the UN Security Council on Friday of the dangers of the emergence of a new front in Sudan linked to the control of the city of El Fasher in Darfur, where residents are on the brink of famine.

Rosemary DiCarlo, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, said the country is facing “a fully man-made crisis” one year after the start of the war between the army led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces led by his former deputy General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.

She added, “The warring parties have repeatedly ignored calls to halt hostilities, including those issued by this Council. Instead, they have accelerated their preparations for further fighting,” speaking of “the continued recruitment campaigns of civilians by the Sudanese armed forces and the Rapid Support Forces.”

She particularly expressed concern about reports of a possible “imminent” attack by the Rapid Support Forces on El Fasher, posing a risk of opening a “new front in the conflict.”

El Fasher is the capital of North Darfur state, where many displaced people have sought refuge after being spared from the war between the two sides for some time.

The Rapid Support Forces led by Dagalo, known as “Hemetti,” currently control four of the five state capitals in Darfur, except for El Fasher, which houses rebel groups that had until recently pledged to remain equidistant from the two warring parties, preventing them from sliding into combat.

However, this stance changed with the announcement by rebel groups that they have decided to fight the Rapid Support Forces due to the “provocations and violations” they are accused of committing in El Fasher.

Clashes in El Fasher have fueled escalating international concerns about the fate of the city, which was a major hub for aid distribution. Since mid-April, bombings and clashes have been reported in surrounding villages.

Edele Wilsorno, Director of Operations at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said there were “continuing reports of fighting in the eastern and northern parts of the city, causing displacement of over 36,000 people,” noting that Médecins Sans Frontières had treated over 100 casualties in El Fasher in recent days.

She added that “the total number of civilian casualties is likely much higher,” warning that “these acts of violence pose a grave and immediate threat to 800,000 civilians living in El Fasher, risking further escalation of violence in other parts of Darfur.”

DiCarlo said, “Fighting in El Fasher could lead to a bloody conflict between ethnic groups in different parts of Darfur” and exacerbate hindrance to humanitarian aid distribution in a region that is “already on the brink of famine.”

In just one year, the war in Sudan has resulted in thousands of deaths, including up to 15,000 in Nyala, the capital of West Darfur state, according to UN experts.

Furthermore, the war has pushed the country, with a population of 48 million people, to the brink of famine, destroying an already fragile infrastructure and displacing over 8.5 million people, according to the United Nations.

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