President of the Transitional Sovereignty Council of Sudan Abdel-Fattah Al-Burhan Abdelrahman Al-Burhan addressed the 78th United Nations General Assembly on 21 September 2023.
- More than 5.25 million people – or one in every 10 people – in Sudan have been displaced by its civil war.
- More than 1 000 suspected measles cases were recorded, increasing the total number of cases in Sudan since April 2023 to 4 334.
- Almost 1 200 refugee children have perished in White Nile State from probable measles and underlying malnutrition.
The two warring factions in Sudan are tired of war and both want a ceasefire, but on their own terms, if their latest public speeches are to be taken at face value.
The price of the war has been staggering.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said:
- Since the conflict broke out on 15 April, more than 5.25 million individuals, one in every 10 people in Sudan, have been displaced by the fighting both inside and outside the nation.
- This number includes more than a million individuals who have escaped from Sudan into its neighbouring countries.
- Last week, more than 1 000 suspected measles cases were recorded, increasing the total number of cases in Sudan since April 2023 to 4 334.
- According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), almost 1 200 refugee children have perished in White Nile State from probable measles and underlying malnutrition.
- Aid partners report flooding, and severe rains have affected at least 72 000 people in 16 communities across seven states.
In the face of such suffering, the country’s two armies said it was time for peace after five months of intense war.
Al-Burhan at UNGA78
The de facto president of Sudan, General Abdel-Fattah Al-Burhan, called on the international community to sanction his rivals, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), and “tribal, regional and international militias, and mercenaries from different parts of the world”, that were fighting to unseat him.
He called for this because he feared, “this war is now a threat to regional and international peace”.
According to reports, the RSF allegedly roped in foreign forces to work with, chief among them Russian mercenaries the Wagner Group, and Libyan warlords such as Libyan National Army commander Khalifah Haftar.
There is also the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement–North (SPLM-N) led by Abdelaziz Adam Al-Hilu fighting the government forces in regions bordering South Sudan and Ethiopia.
Reports said since 15 August, between 4 000 and 10 000 people have been killed and 6 000 to 12 000 others injured in the fight with the SPLM-N.
“This is like the spark of a war that will spill over and burn the entire region,” said Al-Burhan in his address to the annual general debate of the UN General Assembly on Thursday.
He added the war in Sudan was going against international laws and as such the RSF had deliberately “released terrorists and people wanted by international courts from prison”.
“They have killed, looted, raped, robbed and seized citizens’ homes and properties, and destroyed infrastructure and government buildings.”
The whereabouts of former president Omar al-Bashir are a subject of debate.
Some reports said he was last held at a military hospital after a failed bid to escape, while others indicated he was now in hiding.
Bashir and two of his allies are wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court in relation to the Darfur conflict.
Peace negotiations around ending the war by returning the country to civilian rule are a major theme.
This means both military factions should step aside and let civilian rule thrive.
In his speech, Al-Buharn said he was committed to that, although General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as “Hemedti,” the RSF leader, was allegedly not interested.
Hemedti wants peace
Meanwhile, Hemedti also had his own address via video, which was circulated ahead of Al-Buharn taking to the podium at UNGA78.
While blaming Al-Burhan for the war, he said his forces were prepared for a ceasefire through talks.
“The RSF are fully prepared for a ceasefire throughout Sudan to allow the passage of humanitarian aid and to start serious and comprehensive political talks,” read the translation of his Arabic speech.
He too said he was committed to letting civilians take back power as the military factions step back.
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Publish date : 2023-09-22 19:05:31