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Red Cross urges Sudan military rivals to facilitate humanitarian work

April 17, 2023 at 7:27 pm

Women carry a sack of seeds distributed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the opposition controlled town of Thonyor, in Sudan on April 11, 2017 [ALBERT GONZALEZ FARRAN/AFP via Getty Images]

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has called on Sudan’s conflicting military rivals to facilitate humanitarian work amid ongoing clashes, Anadolu News Agency reports.

In a statement, the ICRC called on all parties “to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law,” including “taking all feasible precautions to avoid civilian injuries and loss of life”.

The call came as fighting continued for the third day in a row between the Sudanese Army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in the capital, Khartoum, and its surrounding areas.

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.

According to local medics, at least 97 people have been killed and hundreds injured in the ongoing clashes that erupted on Saturday.

READ: World Food Program suspends operations in Sudan after 3 employees killed in violence

The ICRC and the Sudanese Red Crescent Society are “closely monitoring the humanitarian situation in Khartoum and other parts of the country,” the statement said.

“We are extremely worried that the fighting is affecting densely populated areas. People are seeking cover in their houses,” said Alfonso Verdu Perez, head of the ICRC delegation in Sudan.

A disagreement between the Army and the RSF regarding military and security reform, which envisages the full participation of the RSF in the Army, has turned into a hot conflict in the last few months.

The disputes between the two sides came to the surface last week, when the army said recent movements by the RSF had occurred without coordination and were, therefore, illegal.

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 in a move decried by political forces as a “coup”.

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