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‘Immediately cease hostilities’: UN chief calls for restoring calm in Sudan

April 16, 2023 at 11:55 am

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hold a joint news conference in Mogadishu, Somalia on April 11, 2023. [Somali Presidency – Anadolu Agency]

The UN chief on Saturday condemned the “outbreak of fighting” between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, Anadolu reports.

“The Secretary-General calls on the leaders of the Rapid Support Forces and the Sudanese Armed Forces to immediately cease hostilities, restore calm and initiate a dialogue to resolve the current crisis,” said Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antony Guterres.

“Any further escalation in the fighting will have a devastating impact on civilians and further aggravate the already precarious humanitarian situation in the country,” he added.

Guterres also called on UN member states in the region “to support efforts to restore order and return to the path of transition,” the statement said.

“The Secretary-General is engaging with leaders in the region and reaffirms the commitment of the United Nations to support the people of Sudan in their efforts to restore a democratic transition and realize their aspirations for building a peaceful and secure future,” it added.

On Twitter, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said: “Deeply alarmed by armed clashes in Sudan. Fullest solidarity with people of Sudan who deserve better. Voice of reason urgently needed to stop violence & revert to earlier promising path towards peace & civilian transition.”

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Fighting broke out early Saturday between the Sudanese army and RSF fighters in Khartoum, with gunfire and bombs heard near the army headquarters and presidential palace, according to an Anadolu reporter in Khartoum.

While the RSF accused the army of attacking its forces south of Khartoum with light and heavy weapons, the military said the paramilitary force was “spreading lies” and declared it a “rebel” group.

The dispute between the two sides came to the surface on Thursday when the army said recent movements by the RSF had happened without coordination and were illegal, with their rift centering around a proposed transition to civilian rule.

Sudan has been without a functioning government since October 2021 when the military dismissed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s transitional government and declared a state of emergency.

Last December, Sudan’s military and political forces signed a framework agreement to resolve the months-long crisis.

The signing of the final agreement was scheduled to take place on April 6, but was delayed. No new date has been announced so far.

Sudan’s transitional period which started in August 2019 was scheduled to end with elections in early 2024.

READ: African Union calls for cessation of hostilities in Sudan