The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on Sudan’s army and the paramilitary, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) fighting in Khartoum to sheathe their swords as no fewer than 185 people have lost their lives in the crisis.
Guterres made the call for the ceasefire on Monday adding that any further escalation of the war between the army and paramilitary forces, led by rival generals, “could be devastating for the country and the region.”
The UN special representative to Sudan, Volker Perthes has been in contact with the leaders to suspend the war which erupted Saturday, and has raged for a third day through Monday, AP said.
The fighting broke out after weeks of power struggles between the two generals who seized power in a 2021 coup: Sudan’s army chief, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and his deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands RSF.
“I am in constant contact with leaders of both sides,” Perthes told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York, via video link from the Sudanese capital.
The UN has suspended much of its operations in the country, said Guterres’s spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, who stressed the UN was “not going to ask staff to go to work when clearly their safety is not being guaranteed.”
“This renewed fighting only aggravates what was already a fragile situation, forcing UN agencies and our humanitarian partners to temporarily shutter many of our more than 250 programmes across Sudan,” the UN’s emergency relief coordinator, Martin Griffiths, said in a statement.
“The impacts of this suspension will be felt immediately, especially in the areas of food security and nutritional support, in a country where some 4 million children and pregnant and lactating women are severely malnourished,” he added.
The UN Security Council held a closed-door meeting on the situation in Sudan on Monday morning.
The three African members of the 15-member Council — Ghana, Gabon and Mozambique — released a joint statement following the meeting, calling for an “immediate ceasefire.”
The countries called on the Sudanese military and the RSF “to swiftly embrace in the spirit of the Ramadan season, a peaceful solution and inclusive dialogue to resolve their differences,” they said.
Also, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari and his Chadian counterpart, Mahamat Deby met in Saudi Arabia to deliberate on Sudan’s crisis.
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Guterres said earlier that he had spoken over the weekend “with the two Sudanese leaders and I am actively engaging with the AU (African Union), the Arab League and leaders across the region.”
He added that the “humanitarian situation in Sudan was already precarious and is now catastrophic.”
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