AFRICA/SUDAN - The war is becoming more complicated: the United Nations now decides to end the UN mission in Sudan

Tuesday, 5 December 2023 wars  

Khartoum (Agenzia Fides) - The war in Sudan between the regular army (SAF) led by General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) under the command of Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, known as Hemeti, now has an ethnic dimension. The clashes are still concentrated in the capital Khartoum and in the western region of Darfur, where previously neutral militias have now turned against the RSF (see Fides, 21/11/2023).
In Greater Khartoum (which includes the cities of Khartoum, Omdurman and Bahri), violent fighting for control of military bases and other strategic locations such as bridges over the Nile has led to the isolation of entire neighborhoods, which in turn has led to severe shortages of food, water and electricity .
The displacement of the civilian population continues. Numerous epidemics, including diarrheal diseases, cholera, measles, dengue fever and malaria, are exacerbating the precarious humanitarian situation in Sudan, which the UN refugee agency has described as "unimaginable".
In Darfur, the actions of the RSF, a legacy of the notorious Janjaweed, the mounted militias used by the then Khartoum government to repress local protests, has rekindled the fears of non-Arab ethnic groups that they could become victims of ethnic cleansing.
These battles are primarily focused on the capital of North Darfur, El Fasher, an area disputed between the military and the RSF. The joint force of armed movements that signed the Juba peace agreement announced on December 2 the deployment of soldiers in the area as a preventive measure to protect civilians from possible threats. The deployment coincides with the return of a large contingent of Darfur fighters from neighboring Libya.
If fighting breaks out in El Fasher involving all these actors, the regular army would be the only beneficiary of this complicated situation. The RSF would face a large number of rebel groups and may be forced to mobilize additional troops from other fronts in the region. Should such a conflict break out, it would come at the expense of the civilian population, particularly the Zaghawa community and other displaced non-Arab communities that these new alliances seek to protect.
This explains the belligerent statements of General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan, who threatened to "destroy" the RSF and its supporters.
Referring to developments in the Saudi- and US-backed negotiations in Jeddah, Burhan reiterated his determination to ensure the RSF's withdrawal from the war zones and stated that an agreement without this outcome would be unacceptable: "We have with an open heart negotiated to achieve peace. But negotiations that do not reflect the wishes of the Sudanese people are unacceptable."
Burhan finally welcomed the UN Security Council's decision to end the current UN mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), but also warned the new representative of the UN Secretary-General, Ramazan Lamamra: "We do not refuse to cooperate with the UN, but we "We need a neutral mission to help us restore security and stability in Sudan". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 5/12/2023)