Sudan: UN reports “heavy weapon” shooting in el-Fasher

Sudan: UN reports “heavy weapon” shooting in el-Fasher
Sudan: UN reports “heavy weapon” shooting in el-Fasher

The coordinator for Sudan of the UN Office of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) Clementine Nkweta-Salami reported on the night of Saturday to Sunday shooting from “heavy weapons” in el-Fasher threatening the approximately 800,000 civilian refugees in the capital of North Darfur in Sudan.

“The use of heavy weapons and attacks in densely populated areas in the center and surroundings of el-Fasher” are causing “many victims,” she said in a statement published on X, calling “ all parties” to spare the city. “Wounded civilians are being rushed to el-Fasher hospital,” she said, adding that “civilians who try to flee are trapped in intense fighting.” This violence “threatens the lives of more than 800,000 people living” in this city, she recalled.

For his part, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was “very concerned about the war which continues in Sudan”, stressing that there is “no military solution to the conflict”. “There is a need for an urgent ceasefire and coordinated international efforts for a political process that can get the country out of the rut,” he added on X.

For more than a year, Sudan has been in the grip of a war between the army, led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane, and the paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces (FSR) of his former deputy turned rival, the General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo. The war left tens of thousands dead. In el-Geneina, capital of West Darfur, 10,000 to 15,000 people were killed, according to the UN.

The inhabitants of el-Fasher, capital of the state of North Darfur, approximately 400 kilometers east of el-Geneina, and the only capital of the five states of Darfur not to be in the hands of the RSF , fear a similar scenario. Their city, where 1.5 million people live, including 800,000 displaced people, according to the UN, has so far been relatively spared thanks to a precarious peace negotiated between local armed groups and the RSF.

But last month, the two main armed groups abandoned their neutrality to fight alongside the army and FSR paramilitaries surrounded the town in response.

Both the army and paramilitaries have been accused of indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas and obstructing the passage of humanitarian aid, with the RSF specifically accused of ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

In a report published Thursday, the NGO Human Rights Watch said that the series of attacks carried out by Sudanese paramilitary forces in the western region of Darfur raised the risk of a “genocide” committed against non-Arab ethnic communities.

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