Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Sudan: Former PM warns fighting could become a ‘nightmare’

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Former prime minister of Sudan Abdalla Hamdok has warned that the conflict in his country could become worse than those in Syria and Libya.

Hamdok said the fighting will be a “nightmare for the world” if it continues.

The latest ceasefire between warring generals is faltering, with airstrikes reported in the capital Khartoum.

Almost two weeks of fighting has left hundreds dead, while tens of thousands of people are fleeing the country.

Thursday night’s extension of an uneasy ceasefire between the rival factions followed intensive diplomatic efforts by neighbouring countries, as well as the United States, United Kingdom and United Nations.

But the 72-hour extension has not held. Air, tank and artillery strikes are reported to be continuing in parts of Khartoum.

Speaking at a conference in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, Hamdok called for a unified international effort to persuade the Sudanese military leader and the head of a rival paramilitary force to hold peace talks.

“This is a huge country, very diverse . . . I think it will be a nightmare for the world,” he said.

“This is not a war between an army and small rebellion. It is almost like two armies – well trained and well armed.”

Hamdok – who served as prime minister twice between 2019 and 2022 – added that the insecurity could become worse than the civil wars in Syria and Libya. Those wars have led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, created millions of refugees and caused instability in the wider regions.

The fighting in Sudan broke out on April 15 as the result of a bitter power struggle between the regular army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

Army commander Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and RSF chief Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemedti, disagree about the country’s proposed move to civilian rule and, in particular, about the timeframe of the 100 000 strong RSF’s inclusion into the army.

Both factions fear losing power in Sudan, partly because on both sides there are men who could end up at the International Criminal Court for war crimes committed in the Darfur region almost 20 years ago.

Millions of people remain trapped in Khartoum, where there are shortages of food, water and fuel. (BBC)

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