UN officials warn of new front in Sudan conflict

Senior UN officials have issued a stark warning to the Security Council regarding the escalating crisis in Sudan, particularly around the town of el-Fasher in Darfur.

With the population already teetering on the brink of starvation, concerns are mounting about the potential for a new front to open in the conflict-ridden region.

Rosemary DiCarlo, UN under-secretary-general for political and peacebuilding affairs, condemned the situation as “a crisis of epic proportions… wholly man-made,” following a year of conflict between the armed forces (SAF) of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) under General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.

Despite repeated calls for a ceasefire, the warring parties have instead intensified preparations for further fighting, including campaigns to recruit civilians into their ranks, according to DiCarlo.

El-Fasher, serving as a vital humanitarian hub for Darfur and housing a significant refugee population, has seen a recent uptick in violence, with bombardments and clashes reported in surrounding villages since mid-April.

Edem Wosornu, a director at the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, highlighted the dire situation, with over 36,000 people displaced and more than 100 casualties treated by Doctors Without Borders in recent days.

However, the true extent of civilian casualties is feared to be much higher.

The escalating violence poses an immediate and extreme danger to the 800,000 civilians residing in el-Fasher and risks sparking further conflict across Darfur, warned DiCarlo.

With the potential to ignite intercommunal strife and disrupt humanitarian aid distribution in a region already on the brink of famine, the situation in Sudan demands urgent international attention.

This conflict, which erupted on April 15, 2023, has already exacted a heavy toll, claiming thousands of lives and displacing over 8.5 million people, according to UN figures.

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