Monday, April 29, 2024

Sudan: UN Security Council Private Meeting 29 Apr

Report from United Nations

Security Council Report (SCR)

What’s In Blue

Dated Sunday, 28 April 2024 - here is a full copy:

Sudan: Private Meeting

Tomorrow morning (29 April), the Security Council will convene for a private meeting to discuss the security and humanitarian situations in Sudan. Malta, April’s Council president, scheduled the meeting following bilateral consultations with some Council members and the parties concerned. Assistant Secretary-General for Africa in the Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations (DPPA-DPO) Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee and Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Joyce Msuya are expected to brief. Sudan is expected to participate under rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.

Tomorrow’s meeting comes against the backdrop of a severe escalation of violence across several parts of Sudan, particularly in the city of El-Fasher, the capital city of North Darfur state. One year into the conflict that erupted on 15 April 2023 between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), headed by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Sudan’s military leader, and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary group led by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (also known as Hemeti), the fighting continues to have devastating consequences for civilians. As at 14 April, more than 15,500 people had reportedly been killed since the onset of the conflict, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a non-governmental organisation that collects conflict-related data.

In 2023, the RSF made significant advances, taking control of parts of Darfur, Khartoum, and Kordofan. El-Fasher remains the only capital city in the Darfur region outside the RSF’s control. The final report of the Panel of Experts assisting the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee, dated 15 January, noted that amidst initial violence in April 2023 local authorities in El-Fasher had brokered a ceasefire agreement, dividing the city between the SAF, the RSF, and the armed movements in Darfur, which are signatories to the Juba Peace Agreement. This arrangement allowed the SAF and the RSF to maintain positions on the west and east sides of the city, respectively, with a central area designated as a buffer zone under the control of the joint force of the armed movements. Recently, the joint force reportedly renounced its neutrality in the conflict and pledged support to the SAF, apparently citing the RSF’s provocations, including attacks on its positions and threats to block humanitarian aid, as the reasons for its decision.

In recent days, several UN officials have raised the alarm about the potential outbreak of full-scale fighting in El-Fasher and the resulting humanitarian consequences. In a 13 April statement, Secretary-General António Guterres expressed concern about escalating tensions between armed actors in El-Fasher, noting that an attack on the city “would be devastating for civilians…and could lead to an expansion of the conflict along intercommunal lines across the five Darfur states”. He reiterated his call for an immediate ceasefire and a durable cessation of hostilities. He also called on the warring parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law and human rights law to protect civilians and facilitate full and unrestricted humanitarian access to all areas in need.

On 19 April, Council members met to discuss the situation in Sudan, at the request of the UK, the penholder on Sudan. In her remarks, Msuya said that on 13 April, following weeks of rising tensions and airstrikes, RSF-affiliated militias attacked and burned villages west of El-Fasher. Since then, she added, there have been continuing reports of clashes in the eastern and northern parts of the city. She further noted that the continuing violence poses an extreme and immediate danger to the 800,000 civilians residing in the city and risks triggering further violence in other parts of Darfur—where more than nine million people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. At the same meeting, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo informed the members that in the north of El-Fasher, clashes had erupted between the RSF and SAF-aligned members of the joint force in the district of Mellit. She added that “fighting in El-Fasher could unleash bloody intercommunal strife throughout Darfur…[and] would also further impede the delivery of humanitarian assistance in an area already on the brink of famine”. (For background and more information, see our 19 April What’s in Blue story.)

At tomorrow’s meeting, Msuya is expected to provide an update on the humanitarian situation in the region in light of the evolving security developments. A 26 April OCHA press release said that the security situation has effectively cut off humanitarian access to El-Fasher—which serves as an important hub for reaching other parts of Darfur, including for aid shipments through the Tine border crossing from Chad and from Port Sudan. It added that more than a dozen trucks with lifesaving supplies for 122,000 people remain stranded in Ad Dabbah in the Northern state, due to persisting insecurity and lack of guarantees for safe passage.

On 27 April, Council members issued a press statement, co-authored by the UK and members of “A3 plus one” grouping (Algeria, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, and Guyana). The statement expressed concern about the escalating tensions and military operations around El-Fasher. Members called on the SAF and RSF to end the build-up of military forces, take steps to de-escalate the situation and comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law. They reiterated their call for an immediate cessation of hostilities, leading to a sustainable ceasefire. In addition, they urged all member states to “refrain from external interference which seeks to foment conflict and instability and instead to support efforts for a durable peace” and reminded the Sudanese warring parties and all member states to comply with the arms embargo obligations, imposed by resolution 1556 of 30 July 2004 and most recently renewed by resolution 2676 of 8 March 2023. Several members are expected to reiterate these points at tomorrow’s meeting.

Another key issue that is likely to feature in tomorrow’s discussion is the flow of arms into Sudan in violation of the arms embargo. The 15 January final report of the Panel of Experts indicated that since the onset of the conflict, the RSF had been able to secure new supply lines to and through Darfur for weapons, vehicles, and logistics, including through eastern Chad, Libya and South Sudan. The report noted that the accusations levelled by the SAF that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Chad had provided military support to the RSF through Amdjarass were found credible. Furthermore, the report found that, from July 2023 onwards, “the RSF deployed several types of heavy and/or sophisticated weapons including Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs), howitzers, multiple-rocket launchers and anti-aircraft weapons such as MANPADS [Man-Portable Air Defence Systems]”, which had a massive impact on the balance of forces, both in Darfur and other regions of Sudan—in violation of the arms embargo.

Today (28 April), Sudan’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Al-Harith Idriss al-Harith Mohamed, apparently sent a letter to the Council claiming that the UAE’s support to the RSF represents a “flagrant violation” of the UN Charter and the Sudan sanctions regime. The letter requested the Council to convene an emergency meeting to discuss the “UAE’s aggression against Sudan…[and] hold it responsible for the crimes committed against the Sudanese people”. The UAE has denied these allegations on several occasions, most recently in a 21 April letter addressed to the Council, which said that “[a]ll allegations of the United Arab Emirates’ involvement in any form of aggression or destabilization in Sudan, or its provision of any military, logistical, financial or political support to any faction in Sudan, are spurious, unfounded, and lack any credible evidence to support them”.

Tags: Insights on Africa, Sudan, Sudan (Darfur)

About What's In Blue

When the Security Council approaches the final stage of negotiating a draft resolution, the text is printed in blue. What's In Blue is a series of insights on evolving Security Council actions designed to help interested UN readers keep up with what might soon be "in blue".

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SUDAN WATCH UPDATE on Mon 29 Apr 2024 22:39 GMTThe above report, originally entitled Sudan: Private Meeting has been retitled and updated by What's In Blue as follows:

Sudan: Closed Consultations*

*Post-script (29 April, 9:50 am EST): After the story’s publication, the format of the meeting was changed from private meeting to closed consultations. An earlier version of the story indicated that Sudan will participate in the meeting under rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure. After the changing of the meeting’s format this was no longer possible, as closed consultations do not allow participation of non-Council member states. The story was amended to reflect these changes.

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Sunday, April 28, 2024

Sudan: Conflict in Melit & Kutum, North Darfur. Fires in An Nuhud, W. Kordofan & Madeinat Al Gedaref

HERE is a DTM Sudan Flash Alert
Dated Sunday, 28 April 2024 - full copy:

Conflict in Melit and Kutum localities, North Darfur

DTM Sudan's Early Warning Flash Alerts provide immediate updates on incidents and sudden displacement in Sudan.

On 26 April 2024, clashes renewed between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Melit and Kutum localities, North Darfur. SAF conducted airstrikes targeting RSF positions across Melit town of Melit locality and Al Zurug village of Kutum locality, North Darfur. 

According to field teams, the event led to the displacement of approximately 35 households from Al Zurug village. Affected households sought refuge within Kutum locality.  

There were also reports of deaths in Melit town. 

The situation remains tense and unpredictable. DTM will continue to monitor the developments closely and will provide further information on displacement and population mobility across Sudan, on a weekly basis. The latest DTM Sudan report is available here [ ].

Disclaimer: Due to the current circumstances, the DTM network is relying on remote interviews with key informants and further verification is not possible at this time.

*DTM Sudan Flash Alerts provide an initial estimation of affected population figures gathered from field reports. All information is therefore pending verification through DTM’s Emergency Event Tracking (EET) and/or registration activities and is not to be used as official figures.

Source: DTM 28 April 2024 I VIEW IN BROWSER Update One


Further DTM alerts:

DTM Sudan Flash Alert dated 28 April 2024: 

Fire in An Nuhud (An Nuhud Town), West Kordofan

On 25 April 2024, a fire broke out in An Nuhud Town of An Nuhud locality, West Kordofan. The fire was reported in Althawra neighbourhoods and was caused by extreme weather conditions. Field teams reported that 55 houses burnt down. Affected households sought improvised shelter within the same location. 


DTM Sudan Flash Alert dated 28 April 2024:

Fire in Madeinat Al Gedaref (Gedaref Town), Gedaref

On 24 April 2024, a fire broke out in Gedaref Town of Madeinat Al Gedaref locality, Gedaref. The fire was reported in At Taddamon neighbourhood and was caused by a household accident. Field teams reported that four houses burnt down. Affected households sought shelter with host communities within the same town. 


Saturday, April 27, 2024

UN Security Council expressed "deep concern" over imminent attack on al-Fashir in Sudan's North Darfur

THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL on Saturday (27 Apr) expressed its "deep concern" over an imminent attack on al-Fashir in Sudan's North Darfur region by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and their allied militias against the city of al-Fashir.

“They called on the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces to end the build-up of military forces and to take steps to de-escalate the situation," the statement said.

Top UN officials warned the Security Council last week that some 800,000 people in al-Fashir were in "extreme and immediate danger" as worsening violence advances and threatens to "unleash bloody intercommunal strife throughout Darfur."

Source: Report from Reuters by Michelle Nichols; Writing by Eric Beech; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Chris Reese, dated 27 April 2024.



Gulf News - Saturday, 27 April 2024

Sudan unrest: UAE expresses deep concern over heightened tensions in North Darfur, urges talks

Abu Dhabi: The United Arab Emirates expresses deep concern over the heightened tensions in the El Fasher region in North Darfur and the threat this poses to Sudanese civilians. …

The UAE urges the UN Security Council to ensure an end to the conflict and to ensure safe and unhindered humanitarian access throughout Sudan. ...


Post at X by Eric Reeves @sudanreeves Friday, 26 April 2024


African Union Commission chief & UNOCHA express concern over deteriorating situation in western Sudan

AFRICAN UNION COMMISSION CHIEF Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat said the significant buildup of fighters and weapons in the vicinity of El Fasher, North Darfur poses a grave threat to the lives, property and livelihoods of millions of people and complicates an already-difficult peace-making process.

The AUC chief further called on all Sudanese actors to support the efforts of the AU High Level Panel on Sudan which is trying to convene in the coming days a preparatory process for an all-inclusive Sudan political dialogue. 

On Friday, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) expressed concern that the manoeuvring of opposing armed forces in western Sudan is raising tensions, blocking aid to thousands of people and creating a horrifying situation for civilians.


Friday, April 26, 2024

Sudan: UNSG says RSF are encircling El Fasher, North Darfur suggesting attack on the city may be imminent

From the United Nations
Dated Friday, 26 April 2024 - here is a copy in full:

Note to Correspondents: On Sudan - the situation in El Fasher

We are receiving increasingly alarming reports of a dramatic escalation of tensions between armed actors in El Fasher, North Darfur.

The Rapid Support Forces are reportedly encircling El Fasher, suggesting a coordinated move to attack the city may be imminent. Simultaneously, the Sudanese Armed Forces appear to be positioning themselves.

An attack on the city would have devastating consequences for the civilian population. This escalation of tensions is in an area already on the brink of famine.

The Secretary-General reiterates his call on all Parties to refrain from fighting in the El Fasher area.

The Secretary-General's Personal Envoy, Ramtane Lamamra, is engaging with the Parties to de-escalate tensions in El Fasher.

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Sudan: Thousands could die as the RSF Janjaweed militia close in on North Darfur's capital city Al-Fashir

SOME 800,000 in North Darfur's capital city Al-Fashir have no escape route from incoming attacks by Hemeti's Rapid Support Forces' Janjaweed militia as violence in Sudan spreads. Al-Fashir is the last major city in the huge western Darfur region not yet under control of the RSF which has taken control of four other Darfur state capitals over the past year. 700,000 IDPs fled to camps in Al-Fashir to escape violence in other regions. Read more.

From The New Arab (London)
Dated Friday, 26 April, 2024 - here is a copy of its report in full:

Thousands could die as Rapid Support Forces close in Al-Fashir in Sudan's Darfur province

Some 800,000 people inside Al-Fashir city have no escape route from incoming attacks by the Rapid Support Forces' Janjaweed as violence in Sudan spreads.

Photo: Rival military groups have uprooted millions in Sudan and left the country in a dangerous humanitarian crisis [Getty]

The capital of the Sudanese state North Darfur is facing an imminent catastrophe that is threatening some 800,000 people, as the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) closes in on the last stronghold of rival Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) following weeks of battles.

Sudanese activists and international researchers warned on Thursday that the city of Al-Fashir is "about to be under siege" as the RSF gains ground in the surrounding province, terrorising villages and conducting intense bombing campaigns against the Sudanese army.

RSF is attempting to gain control of the city from the SAF and have begun closing in with its troops preparing for a full-scale invasion, according to researchers.

Al-Fashir is the last major city in the huge western Darfur region not yet under the control of the RSF which has taken control of four other Darfur state capitals over the past year. Some 700,000 internally displaced people fled to camps in Al-Fashir having escaped violence in other regions.

The latest round of violence began in the African country in April 2023 and snowballed into a civil war when long-simmering tensions between the military, led by Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan, and the RSF paramilitary commanded by Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, broke out into street battles in the capital, Khartoum.

The RSF has been blamed for mass killings of civilians - which are often ethnically driven - and numerous human rights violation, including terrifying levels of sexual violence.

The war has uprooted swathes of the population and humanitarian workers have described the conditions as among the worst in the world.

The UN said that some 20 million people in Sudan are struggling to find enough food to eat and that famine is now widespread.

Last week, UN officials warned the Security Council that 800,000 people in Al-Fashir were in "extreme and immediate danger" as fighting was moving closer. 

[HERE is a copy of a post at X by Radio Dabanga English 5:42PM April 25, 2024: "Refugees International warns of imminent #RSF attacks on #El Fasher in #NorthDarfur, home to 800,000 civilians. Immediate action needed #SudanNews #KeepEyesOnSudan #sudan_war_updates"]

There are fears fighting in the city could trigger inter-communal violence throughout the Darfur province which surfaced during conflicts in the 2000s, and could spill into neighbouring Chad.

Adam Mousa, director of Darfur Victims Support and Sudan Defenders, said that in April the RSF and aligned Arab militias fought with the Sudanese army and attacked 15 villages in the east of Darfur, forcing thousands to flee to al-Shagra town and the Zamzam displacement camp in Al-Fashir.

"Most of the displaced have no water, food or medicine, and at the same time the attacks are continuing," Mousa said during an online media briefing on Thursday which included activists, Sudanese civilians, researchers, and aid workers.

Mousa, who is from Darfur, said his organisation has requested to begin a ceasefire initiative and sent letters to SAF and RSF and are "waiting for a response".

Some eleven villages there have been burnt in recent days, according to Nathaniel Raymond, executive director of the Humanitarian Research Lab at Yale School of Public Health.

It has been challenging for journalists and humanitarians to gain on the ground access since the outbreak of war and as a result, observers have been relying on open-source intelligence to track the conflict.

Raymond's Humanitarian Research Lab has been closely documenting the RSF and SAF movements using open-source data and satellite imagery, and last week sounded the alarm to the international community about RSF’s imminent attack on Al-Fashir.

"We have a city about to be under siege," Raymond said.

RSF fighters are about eight kilometres from the main SAF infantry base and open-source reports and imagery collected in the past day shows RSF fighters moving on the city from multiple directions, Raymond explained.

"The situation for those in Al-Fashir will likely get significantly worse in the coming hours and days," he said.

"At this point, civilians and the Sudan Armed Forces do not have a clear escape route to exit Al Fashir. We call this phenomenon, in our business, a kill box.

"The space for intervention is probably gone," he added.

Raymond fears that if the RSF behave in line with the mass atrocities conducted over the past year, the number of casualties in the region could exceed the 110,000 deaths of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

It is estimated that some 14,000 people have been killed in the war since last April, though some projections are far larger.

The RSF, which is formed of Janjaweed fighters aligned with former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, have conducted ruthless campaigns against civilians and there are fears they will conduct massacres in Al-Fashir.

There have been widespread human rights violations documented by RSF fighters, including cases of sexual violence against women and girls.

Allegations of rape, forced marriage, sex trafficking in Khartoum, Darfur and Kordofan have been recorded. Rights groups say the truce scale of the crisis remains unknown due to underreporting and fear of reprisals.

Some 1.1 million people are internally displaced in Sudan while more than 3 million are refugees in neighbouring Chad, Eritrea and Egypt, according to figures from the UN refugee agency.

Hala Al-Karib, Sudan Regional Director of the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa, said that the anticipated invasion of Al-Fashir has been a "ticking time bomb" considering the number of local militias present in the city.

She said the city has been an important hub for activists and human rights defenders and hosts many displaced families. The only hospital in Sudan for survivors of sexual violence is in the city, Al-Karib said.

The war has taken a spiral in recent months due to foreign interference, which observers say has prolonged the conflict and fuelled new levels of danger.

RSF's leader is reportedly receiving support from Russian mercenaries and allied Arab communities coming from the Horn of Africa, as well as Libya.

US officials recently said the UAE was providing financial and military support to RSF, which has been accused of committing crimes against humanity. Iran and Egypt are believed to be supporting Sudan's army with military drones.

Earlier this month, France hosted a donor aid conference to mark one year since the outbreak of war and garner much needed attention to the humanitarian disaster.

Western officials  are seeking an end to the fighting through diplomacy, but critics say it has done little to defuse the violence.

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Sudan Watch - February 28, 2020 

Sudan: RSF to turn Zurrug, N Darfur into a dream city

Sudan Watch - March 02, 2024

Sudan: In Zamzam camp, North Darfur, the death rate is catastrophic. At least 1 child dies every 2 hours

Malnutrition and disease are rife at the ‘overwhelmed’ Zamzam camp, a host to 300,000 internally displaced people, one of hundreds in Sudan, where war has displaced nearly 8 million people. The scale is simply terrifying. Zamzam is just one camp. There are hundreds of others in Sudan.

Sudan Watch - March 13, 2024

Sudan: 3.9M people food insecure in Khartoum state. 

Khartoum's partly a ghost town, only 20-30% remain

Sudan Watch - March 14, 2024

South Sudan Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala: Our people ‘on brink of destitution, slowly perishing’

Sudan Watch - March 17, 2024

Ali Karti, SG of Sudan’s Islamic Movement, widely seen as a mastermind of Sudan's war, has now announced a truce with RSF will never be accepted

Sudan Watch - March 29, 2024


UK doubles its aid to Sudan to £89m as crisis escalates

Sudan Watch - April 06, 2024


Tagadum coalition unveils vision to end war and rebuild state

Sudan Watch - April 21, 2024


Situation in Sudan ‘probably the most disastrous in the world’ says ex-PM Hamdok

Sudan Watch - April 22, 2024

Sudan: SpaceX to shut off Starlink access for users outside availability areas by 30 April 2024

Sudan Watch - April 24, 2024

Sudan: Displacement and recent clashes in North Darfur, Apr 01 - Apr 17 2024 & Apr 14 - Apr 16 2024

CSIS - April 25, 2024

By Cameron Hudson 

Preventing Another Darfur Genocide

Radio Dabanga - April 25, 2024

Int’l NGO: ‘UNSC needs to urgently intervene in North Darfur’

Refugees International, a prominent INGO, issued a grave warning on Tuesday indicating that the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) are about to launch imminent attacks on the city of El Fasher, North Darfur, home to 800,000 civilians, which requires urgent action.