Sudan: six months of war and 9,000 deaths

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FILE PHOTO: Chadian cart owners transport belongings of Sudanese people who fled the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region, while crossing the border between Sudan and Chad in Adre, Chad August 4, 2023. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra/File Photo

The ongoing conflict in Sudan, which has lasted for six months between the country’s military and a powerful paramilitary group, has resulted in the loss of as many as 9,000 lives and has created what the United Nations humanitarian chief describes as “one of the most severe humanitarian crises in recent memory.” The strife began in mid-April when long-standing tensions between the military leader, General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces commander, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, erupted into open warfare.

Initially, the conflict was centred in Khartoum but quickly spread to other regions throughout the nation, including the already conflict-ridden western Darfur area. The fighting has caused an estimated 9,000 fatalities and forced millions of individuals to leave their homes. This conflict has resulted in communities torn apart, vulnerable individuals lacking access to life-saving aid, and increasing humanitarian needs in neighboring countries where millions have sought refuge. As per the International Organisation for Migration (OIM), more than 4.5 million people have been internally displaced within Sudan, and over 1.2 million have sought refuge in neighbouring nations. Moreover, the conflict has left 25 million individuals, which is over half of Sudan’s population, in need of humanitarian assistance.

Since the outbreak of the war, the Greater Khartoum area, encompassing the cities of Khartoum, Omdurman, and Khartoum North, has turned into a battleground, with airstrikes and shelling taking place in densely populated areas. There have been reports of sexual assaults, including gang rapes, in Khartoum and Darfur, primarily attributed to the Rapid Support Forces. The RSF and their allied Arab militias have also faced accusations from the U.N. and international human rights organisations of committing atrocities in Darfur, which had previously experienced a genocidal campaign in the early 2000s.

The recent incidents of violence and atrocities in Darfur led the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to announce in July that an investigation was underway into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in the latest round of fighting in the region.

 

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