Abdel-Fattah Al-Burhan, President of Sudan’s Transitional Sovereign Council, warned the UN General Assembly that the ongoing five-month conflict in Sudan between government forces and rebels risks spreading across the region if not contained.
Five months of brutal conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces, have fueled a humanitarian crisis of epic and tragic proportions.
The fighting has displaced more than 5.25 million people – one in every 10 people across Sudan – inside and outside the country since clashes erupted on 15 April. This includes over one million people who have fled across Sudan’s borders to neighboring countries.
UN OCHA this week said the situation can, and will, get immeasurably worse unless urgent action is taken.
In his speech, President Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan described the brutal war launched against the Sudanese people in April by the Rapid Support Forces and their militia allies. He accused them of committing atrocities like destroying historical sites, freeing terrorists from prison, killing and displacing civilians.
The President characterized the rebels as being backed by “tribal, regional and international militias, and mercenaries.” He warned that “This war is now a threat to regional and international peace and security as those rebels have sought the support of mercenaries and terrorist groups from different countries and regions of the world,” Al-Burhan said, adding: “This is like the spark of … a war that will spill over … and burn the entire region.”
So far the conflict has killed thousands of Sudanese and displaced millions from their homes.
“They have killed thousands and displaced millions,” he said, emphasizing that the Government has responded to all initiatives for peace extended by the regional bloc IGAD and others, such as the Jeddah meeting organized by the United States and Saudi Arabia, Türkiye and South Sudan. Yet the rebels have refused all initiatives and “continue to commit genocide.”
The war is also getting pulled into the global power struggles unfolding in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. CNN yesterday reported that Ukrainian special services were likely behind recent attacks on the Wagner-backed Rapid Support Forces (RSF) near Sudan’s capital.
The attacks raise the prospect that the fallout from the Ukraine conflict has spread far beyond the frontlines there.
Speaking to CNN, a Ukrainian military source described the operation against a “non-Sudanese military,” hinting that Kyiv was responsible, as the RSF is backed by Russian private military firm Wagner.
This indicates the Sudan conflict risks becoming further internationalized as proxy powers like Russia and Ukraine immerse themselves in it, according to analysts.
Ethiopia is among those facing a surge in refugee arrivals in the aftermath of the war in Sudan. The number of people crossing into Ethiopia due to the conflict has now reached 81,095 according to the UN’s International Organization for Migration.
As of mid-September, 81,095 returns, refugees and asylum seekers had made crossings from conflict-hit parts of Sudan into Ethiopia, IOM reported. Of these, over 37,000 were Ethiopian nationals returning home, while around 28,000 were Sudanese and over 15,000 were third country nationals.