CAIRO, June 28 (Xinhua) — A surge in violence in Sudan could see more than 1 million refugees leave the African country by October, as the 10-week-old conflict shows few signs of easing, the United Nations said.
Sudan was thrown into chaos in mid-April when fighting broke out between the army led by General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces commanded by General Mohammad Hamdan Dagalo.
Since then, the country’s health ministry has said more than 3,000 people have died and some 2.5 million have been displaced, according to the United Nations.
Local rights groups and the United Nations say the violence is worst in the capital, Khartoum, but also in West Darfur, where attacks by Forces Without Borders and Arab militias are reportedly targeting non-Arab tribes. Most of the fugitives have fled east to Chad.
“We were talking about 100,000[fleeing to]Chad in six months. Now our colleagues in Chad have corrected the figure to 245,000 people,” said Tuesday in Geneva, Switzerland.
Some of the worst violence occurred in West Darfur. In a report released last week by the Dalmasalit Sultanate, leaders of Africa’s Masalit community accused Doctors Without Borders and Arab militias of “genocide against African civilians”. He estimated that more than 5,000 people had died in Geneva, the provincial capital, in the past two months.
To date, more than 560,000 Sudanese have fled to neighboring countries, with Egypt being the main destination. “Unfortunately, in terms of trends, we expect the conflict to continue and many people in Sudan will choose (go to) Egypt,” Matsu said.
Peace talks brokered by the United States and Saudi Arabia in the Saudi coastal town of Jeddah have all but collapsed. Negotiations that led to the last nine ceasefires formally adjourned last week, with the two mediators publicly criticizing Forces Without Borders and the military for their repeated violations of the agreed ceasefire.
Residential areas and hospitals in Khartoum have been hit by army airstrikes throughout the conflict, while Forces Without Borders, which has the upper hand on the city’s streets, has seized civilian homes across the capital and turned them into bases.
Sexual violence, including the rape of women and girls, was reported in Khartoum and Darfur. Nearly all of the reported sexual assaults have been blamed on Reporters Without Borders, which has not responded to repeated requests for comment.
Late on Monday, Doctors Without Borders said it would create an internal body to assess and punish paramilitary forces accused of “illegal and misconduct”. In a recording posted on his social media page, Dagalo said many of the alleged crimes were actually committed by subordinates of former Islamist leader Omar al-Bashir and other militiamen disguised in the uniforms of the Forces Without Borders.
Former President Bashir, who led Sudan for 30 years, was overthrown in a popular uprising in 2019. From the start of the conflict, Dagalo accused the military of harboring Islamists and other associates of the ousted president within the ranks.
Fresh clashes have also erupted in the remote Blue Nile state over the past few days between the Sudanese army and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, the country’s largest rebel force in the north. The United Nations Mission in Sudan said the outbreak of fighting had caused hundreds of civilians to flee to neighboring Ethiopia.It is unclear how many people were killed in the clashes
More than 170 people were killed in violent tribal clashes in the southeastern part of the country last October. (Associated Press)
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