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1 May, 2023 03:47

UN sends emergency envoy to Sudan

The events unfolding in the country are “unprecedented,” the Secretary-General's spokesman has claimed
UN sends emergency envoy to Sudan

The United Nations emergency relief coordinator, Martin Griffiths, has been appointed to lead the international body’s effort to mediate the crisis in Sudan. Violence between rival military factions in the east African country entered its third week, even as a ceasefire was extended on Sunday for another 72 hours.

“I am on my way to the region to explore how we can bring immediate relief to the millions of people whose lives have turned upside down overnight,” Griffiths said on Sunday night, after United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres named him as a special envoy.

“The scale and speed of what is unfolding is unprecedented in Sudan,” Guterres’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement announcing Griffiths' “immediate” deployment. 

Around 500 civilians are thought to have lost their lives since the conflict broke out in the politically turbulent country on April 15, between army forces controlled by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and those controlled by Mohamed Hamdan Daglo – otherwise known as Hemedti – who is the commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

On Sunday both sides agreed to extend a humanitarian ceasefire for another 72 hours, but accused the other of violations and maintained the right to respond in the event of “transgressions.” None of the previous truces have firmly taken hold, as violence continues in the country’s capital, Khartoum – which has reported widespread outages of electricity, as well as food and water shortages.

The worsening armed conflict could prompt a full-blown civil war, which would be a “nightmare for the world,” former Sudanese prime minister Abdalla Hamdok warned on Saturday. 

“God forbid if Sudan is to reach a point of civil war proper,” he said, speaking at an event in Nairobi, Kenya. He added that he believed civil wars in Syria, Yemen, and Libya would be “small play” compared to what he fears might break out in Sudan.