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UN Security Council calls on Sudan’s RSF to end El Fasher siege

Author: Chany Ninrew | Published: Friday, June 14, 2024

Video-captured photo of Rapid Support Forces fighters in el-Fasher, North Darfur, May 2024 (Social media)

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution on Thursday calling on Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Security Forces (RSF) to stop their weeks-long siege on El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state.

The resolution drafted by the United Kingdom, expressed deep concern over the outbreak of fighting in the city, and the risk of further escalation.

The resolution which also calls on Sudanese military and RSF to ensure protection of civilians and seek immediate end to violence, received 14 votes in favour, none against, while Russia abstained.

UK Ambassador Barbara Woodward said the resolution sends a clear message, adding that an attack would be “catastrophic” for the 1.5 million people sheltering in the city.

“We tabled this resolution to help secure a localized ceasefire around El Fasher and create the wider conditions to support de-escalation across the countryand, ultimately, save lives,” Ms. Woodward said.

The warring sides were also requested to “allow and facilitate the rapid, safe, unhindered and sustained passage of humanitarian relief for civilians in need, including by removing bureaucratic and other impediments”.

Ms. Woodward described the situation in Sudan as desperate, noting that humanitarian needs are severe.

She said the resolution calls for the Sudanese authorities to increase cooperation with UN agencies and to urgently reopen the Adre border with Chad in efforts to scale-up humanitarian assistance.

“In this regard, the resolution urges the international community to increase their support and fulfill existing pledges,” she added.

The Sudan war erupted in April 15, 2023, between powerful military commanders, current junta leader General Abdal Fattah Al Burhan, and RSF’s General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, following a longstanding rivalry.

In the besieged El Fasher, Doctors Without Borders also known as MSF, recently described the situation as catastrophic due to intense fighting as the city has been under constant shelling since the war started in May.

On June 9, Sudan’s Ministry of Health closed South Hospital in El Fasher, after the paramilitary soldiers stormed the facility, opening fire and looting equipment including an ambulance.

MSF, which runs South Hospital, said the facility was the main referral hospital for treating war-wounded in Al Fasher, and the only one equipped to manage mass casualties.

On May 26, the medical aid group said 134 people were killed including its staff member in fighting between the Sudanese army and RSF, adding that it treated 979 casualties at the city’s main hospital since the fighting began.

Fighting continues daily in several parts of Sudan, with both sides accused of war crimes including the deliberate targeting of civilians, indiscriminate shelling of residential areas and blocking humanitarian aid.

At least 40 people were killed during artillery fire in Sudan’s capital Khartoum on June 6, allegedly by the Rapid Support Force (RSF) battling army, according to activists.

The incident occurred days after the paramilitary group was accused of killing more than 100 people during two waves of shelling on the village of Wad al-Noura in Gezira State.

The deadly Wad al-Noura assault drew widespread condemnation, including from UNICEF’s Executive Director, Catherine Russell, who said at least 35 children were reported killed and more than 20 others injured.

 

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