The United Nations announced on Tuesday that the conflict in Sudan has resulted in the displacement of more than 700,000 civilians, which is twice as many as a week ago. Despite the fact that the conflict has been going on for more than three weeks, there is still no sign of it coming to an end.
The fighting and looting that have been going on in Khartoum for the past 25 days continued today. Hundreds of members of the Beja tribe staged a demonstration in the coastal town of Port Sudan, which is located about 850 kilometers east of the capital. They demanded the right to bear arms and fight alongside the army. “The Beja are ready to be armed,” Mahmoud al-Bichari, one of the organizers of the event, declared as the crowd yelled “no to negotiations.”
Since April 15, the battle has paired the head of the army, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane, against the commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo. These two men became adversaries after leading the October 2021 putsch together. “There is a growing risk that people will start arming themselves locally or that the army will try to form a militia to counter the RSF,” Sudanese analyst Magdi Gizouli of the Rift Valley Institute told AFP.
Already, the fighting has resulted in the deaths of over 750 individuals and injuries to over 5,000 more. Nearly 150,000 refugees have fled to countries that are nearby.
Many people have left Khartoum, a city with a population of five million, and those who are still there are currently besieged within their homes. They do not have access to water or electricity, their food supplies are nearly depleted, and they have less and less money; nonetheless, they are managing to stay alive despite the oppressive heat because of the solidarity networks that have been established between their neighbors and relatives.
According to eyewitness accounts, fighting broke out on Tuesday in a number of different neighborhoods. During the beginning of the conflict, the army asserted that “astronomical sums” had been taken during the conflict that took place near a branch of the central bank. The federation of Sudanese banks admitted on Tuesday that “looting” had occurred at “some banks in Khartoum,” but they asserted that the savings of the Sudanese people were “fully preserved.”
The telephone and internet networks have come and gone depending on the efforts of the telecom companies, which are battling to find fuel to run their generators. The generators are required to keep the phone and internet networks operational. There are virtually no operational hospitals, and the vast majority of aid supplies have either been bombed or stolen. The same can be said for Darfur, which is located in the western part of the country and shares a border with Chad.
Prior to the conflict, one in every three people living in Sudan was malnourished. According to the United Nations, if the war continues, up to 2.5 million more people would experience hunger each and every day. It would appear that neither side has made any progress in the “pre-discussions” over a temporary cease-fire that are scheduled to take place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Martin Griffiths, the head of humanitarian assistance for the United Nations, arrived in Jeddah on Sunday and has already left. According to the deputy spokesperson for the United Nations, Farhan Haq, Griffiths offered both parties a promise to “ensure the passage of humanitarian aid” via a declaration of principle.
“These talks are more of a decoy than a real platform for finding solutions,” says Kholood Khair, an expert on Sudan. In addition to the United States and Saudi Arabia, the African Union, which expelled Sudan from its membership in 2021, and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad), an East African regional bloc to which the country belongs, are attempting to hold meetings under the auspices of President Salva Kiir of South Sudan. The latter entity communicated with an emissary that General Burhane sent on Monday in Juba.
Hanna Serwaa Tetteh, the United Nations special envoy for the Horn of Africa, stated on Tuesday that the war poses a “threat to the supply of food and basic goods to South Sudan as well as its oil exports, which pass through Port Sudan.” Port Sudan is an essential outlet on the Red Sea for this landlocked country. The United Nations has issued a warning that 200,000 of the 800,000 South Sudanese refugees who have found safety in Sudan could end up returning home.
“This is a challenge,” Tetteh cautioned, for South Sudan, where “two-thirds of the population is already in need of humanitarian assistance.” Egyptian diplomatic head Sameh Shukri paid a visit to Mr. Kiir on Tuesday after condemning “the human tragedy” of the conflict and its “direct impact on neighboring countries” the day before.