Home News Sudanese city besieged by militants, plagued by famine, worst case scenario

Sudanese city besieged by militants, plagued by famine, worst case scenario

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Fears of another genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region have grown in recent days, looming in an embattled city already threatened by famine, where genocidal violence killed as many as 300,000 people two decades ago.

The battle for control of El Fasher, the last city held by Sudanese forces in Darfur, has prompted warnings from U.S. and United Nations officials that widespread bloodshed could be imminent. Linda Thomas Greenfield, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations, told reporters on Monday that the city was “on the verge of mass murder.”

El Fasher is the latest flashpoint in a year-long civil war between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces. The Rapid Support Forces are a powerful paramilitary organization that the military once fostered and is now a fierce rival for power.The conflict has devastated one of Africa’s largest countries and caused a massive humanitarian crisis United Nations official says This is the largest in decades.

The crisis has also cast a sharp spotlight on the role of foreign powers accused of fueling the fight, particularly the United Arab Emirates.

Fighters loyal to the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have surrounded El Fasher since April 14, preparing for what the United Nations calls an “imminent attack.” El Fasher, the former capital of the pre-colonial kingdom of Darfur, is home to some 1.8 million residents, including hundreds of thousands who fled earlier waves of fighting.

The city is the last obstacle to full control of the region by armed forces without borders. Its militants swept across Darfur last fall and now occupy four of the region’s five major cities.

Control of El Fasher would give the group a territory that, together with adjacent areas, covers about a third of Sudan and could prompt a shift in the course of the war. One worrying scenario is for Sudan to break up into competing fiefdoms, as Libya did after the death of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

At least 43 people, including women and children, have been killed in El Fasher in skirmishes and bombings on the edge of the city in recent weeks, according to the United Nations, which residents fear is just a preview of the violence to come.

“Everyone is always ready to be attacked,” said Dawalbait Mohamed, a resident of El Fasher who fled the city last year. He said he had been in contact with his parents and siblings who stayed behind. “It seems inevitable.”

Twenty years ago, a vicious conflict broke out in Darfur, which was accompanied by genocide and killed about 300,000 people, becoming the focus of global attention. The worst killings were led by Janjaweed militias, who have been accused of genocide. The Janjaweed were a fearsome group of Arab fighters that later evolved into the Rapid Support Forces.

Before Sudan descended into war, Médecins Sans Frontières leaders had tried to shed their reputation for ruthlessness – though that reputation has returned with a comeback in the past year amid reports of massacres and looting.

However, experts say an attack on El Fasher would be risky and potentially costly for the Rapid Support Forces. That gave many Western and Arab officials, including some U.S. officials, hope that international pressure could still persuade both sides to back down and avert disaster.

The United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the crisis behind closed doors.

After the meeting, Ms. Thomas Greenfield said the United States called on all countries, including the United Arab Emirates, to stop supporting the warring parties in Sudan and warned that “an unprecedented crisis is brewing.”

“As I have said before, history is repeating itself in the worst possible way in Darfur,” Ms. Thomas Greenfield said.

Sudan and some U.N. officials say the UAE has provided funds and weapons to the group; The New York Times reported last year Emirati arms smuggling operation to Forces Without Borders through eastern Chad.

The UAE has denied providing any support to the Rapid Support Forces, mainly in a recent letter to the Security Council.

On April 15, one year has passed since the war in Sudan. It is currently escalating and expanding at a dizzying speed.

The conflict, which began as a power struggle between rival generals – army chief of staff General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Forces Without Borders leader Lieutenant General Mohammed Hamdan – has turned into a The massive conflict involves ethnic, religious and insurgent groups on both sides, as well as a range of foreign sponsors.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov met with Sudanese military and civilian leaders in Port Sudan on Monday. Russia’s Wagner Group supplied missiles to Doctors Without Borders in the early weeks of the war. The Kremlin has long coveted Sudan’s access to the Red Sea.

Elsewhere in Darfur, MSF’s advances have been accompanied by widespread ethnic violence.United Nations investigators estimate 10,000 to 15,000 civilians killed Last October, the city of El Geneina in West Darfur was attacked. Most of the victims were from African ethnic groups that have long been targeted by the Arab-dominated Rapid Support Forces.

However, peace in El Fasher has been maintained thanks to a local truce between Médecins Sans Frontières and other armed groups around the city. But the fragile agreement collapsed in recent weeks as the Sudanese military persuaded or induced Darfur groups to abandon their neutrality, leading to Médecins Sans Frontières moving into the city.

Médecins Sans Frontières accuses the military of provoking fighting by carrying out aerial bombardments of areas controlled by Médecins Sans Frontières, with the latest incident killing seven herders and about 250 camels.

The hungry people found themselves caught in the crossfire.

At Zamzam camp, 10 miles south of El Fasher, 40% Doctors Without Borders said in February that children aged six months to two years were severely malnourished and that one child was dying every two hours, calling it an “absolutely catastrophic situation”.

However, both sides of the conflict are blocking food aid, according to U.S. and U.N. officials. Sudan’s military has banned UN aid from Chad except at the only crossing point controlled by one of its allies.

Doctors Without Borders has established its own foreign aid control unit in Melit, a town north of El Fasher, bringing the delivery of much-needed aid to a virtual halt, a senior U.N. official said. The official’s identity cannot be disclosed to avoid jeopardizing aid operations.

Fasher residents spoke on the phone worried about what would happen next.

Shadia Ibrahim, a radio station technician, said she hid in her home on Sunday when heavy fighting broke out in the east of the city. The power was out, and water and food prices skyrocketed, she said.

Ms Ibrahim hopes the city can avoid a repeat of El Geneina, where fighting was followed by massacres. “We hope nothing like this happens here,” she said.

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