AFRICA/SUDAN - “Forgotten War”: The situation in Sudan and the Darfur region is getting worse

Tuesday, 21 November 2023 wars   pope francis  

Khartoum (Agenzia Fides) - The forgotten war in Sudan is worsening after two armed groups in Darfur, which until now remained neutral, declared that they have sided with the army against the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). On November 17, Finance Minister Jibril Ibrahim, leader of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), and Minni Arko Minawi, governor of Darfur and leader of the Liberation Movement/Army (SLA/M), announced the intention of the groups they led to join the regular army and accused the RSF of committing atrocities in Darfur. Minawi says he realized the importance of abandoning neutrality after becoming convinced that "the goal of the war is to divide Sudan." Jibril Ibrahim told a news conference that his organization "took a neutral position at the beginning of the war in order to mediate," but accused the RSF of "trying to fragment and divide the country in collaboration with foreign militias and mercenaries in "implementing a foreign agenda". Sudan's civil war broke out on April 15 after a clash between the regular army and RSF militiamen. The fighting was concentrated in and around the capital Khartoum and in Darfur, the region in the west of the country from which the RSF members come. Until now, most of the country's other armed groups had not taken part in the fighting between the two factions. The JEM and SLA/M's decision to join the army was criticized by another group active in Darfur, the "SPLM-N Revolutionary Democratic Current" (RDC), which said in a statement that "their position is a continuation of their opposition to democracy and the December Revolution and their support of the coup of October 25th, of which the war of April 15th is a direct result. The October 25 coup, carried out jointly by the army and the RSF, dashed hopes of a democratic breakthrough in Sudan and led to the formation of a military junta whose internal disagreements escalated into civil war. Another worrying development was the attack that killed 32 people in Abyei, an oil-rich, disputed border area between Sudan and South Sudan. Bulis Koch Aguar Ajith, Abyei Region Information Minister and South Sudanese spokesperson for the region, condemned the attack in a statement released on Sunday evening, November 19, saying the attack was carried out by a Dinka faction against a rival faction. Abyei has special administrative status and is governed by an administration composed of officials appointed by the governments in Juba and Khartoum. The proximity of the fighting to Abyei risks destabilizing this already unstable region, while the ongoing crisis in Sudan has "effectively suspended" talks between the two countries over this long-disputed territory, the UN special envoy for the region has warned. The Sudanese conflict risks involving neighboring states, while a "Libyan" scenario is emerging with the formation of two governments vying for control of the country. The only voice that recalls the drama in Sudan is that of Pope Francis, who, after the Angelus on Sunday November 12th, said: "For several months a civil war has been raging in Sudan that does not seem to be abating and has resulted in numerous victims, Millions of internally displaced people and refugees in neighboring countries as well as a very serious humanitarian situation. I am close to the suffering of the Sudanese people and I wholeheartedly appeal to those responsible on the ground to facilitate access for humanitarian aid and with the contribution of the international Community to work towards peaceful solutions. Let us not forget our brothers sisters". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 21/11/2023)