As the world watches in horror, deadly violence continues to ravage Sudan despite the declared extension of a ceasefire. The conflict pits the country’s army against a paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), with at least 550 people already dead and 4,926 wounded according to the latest health ministry figures. The actual death toll is likely much higher.
The situation has rapidly deteriorated, with hospitals destroyed, humanitarian facilities looted, and foreign aid groups forced to halt most of their operations. Tens of thousands of Sudanese have been forced to flee to neighboring countries in what has been called a humanitarian “catastrophe” with far-reaching implications for the region.
Despite the extension of a ceasefire, fierce clashes have been reported across the country, with witnesses reporting explosions and anti-aircraft guns being fired. The Sudanese army is trying to regain control over the presidential palace, which has been a hotly contested area, with fighter jets launched in various parts of Khartoum.
Meanwhile, Martin Griffiths, the top UN humanitarian official, has arrived in the country on an urgent mission to provide relief to the millions of civilians trapped in the conflict. He has called for agreements and arrangements that allow for the movement of staff and supplies and has urged the warring parties to protect civilians and aid workers.
The failure of previous truces has drawn mounting international criticism, with Ismail Wais of the regional African bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) calling for an end to the fighting. He noted that the persistent violence has made it harder to resolve the political, security, and humanitarian crisis on the ground.
The UN’s Griffiths has also voiced concerns about the safety of aid workers, revealing that six trucks belonging to the World Food Programme were looted en route to Darfur despite assurances of safety and security.
It’s a volatile and dangerous environment, but the international community cannot turn a blind eye to the suffering of Sudanese civilians caught in the crossfire. The situation demands a swift and decisive response to provide aid, protect civilians, and bring an end to the violence.