UN Says Over 330,000 People Internally Displaced in Sudan
Baku, May 2, AZERTAC
The United Nations migration agency says at least 334,000 people have been internally displaced in Sudan since deadly fighting broke out last month between two military factions, according to VOA news.
The data was released Tuesday by the International Organization for Migration at a news conference in Geneva. At the same press briefing the U.N. refugee agency said that more than 100,000 people have fled from Sudan to neighboring countries.
The new figures come a day after the U.N. refugee agency made an ominous prediction that the fighting could force more than 800,000 people to flee the north African country.
Raouf Mazou, the deputy head of the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said Monday that the agency was planning for 815,000 people to flee Sudan into seven neighboring countries. He said that included 580,000 Sudanese along with foreign refugees now living in Sudan.
Mazou said around 73,000 people have already left Sudan.
UNHCR head Filippo Grandi said in a tweet Monday that the agency hopes its planning figures turn out to be too high, but said “if violence doesn’t stop, we will see more people forced to flee Sudan seeking safety.”
Fighting between Sudanese government forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) continued Tuesday despite the extension of yet another cease-fire agreement. Sudan’s health ministry says more than 500 people have reportedly been killed and more than 4,000 wounded since the fighting began on April 15 after relations between army chief Abdel Fattah al Burhan and RSF chief Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. The two generals were once allies in Sudan’s transitional government after a 2021 coup.
The fighting has led to the seizure of a public health laboratory in the capital Khartoum by one of the warring factions. The lab holds samples of infectious diseases such as cholera and other hazardous materials. The World Health Organization said Tuesday the seizure posed a “moderate risk” of biological hazard after conducting risk assessment. The U.N. agency warned last week the seizure potentially posed a “high risk” of biological hazard.
A string of temporary truces has been widely ignored by both sides. The cease-fires were established by the two warring factions to allow people safe passage and to open a means for the country to receive humanitarian aid. However, while fighting has abated in some parts of the capital, heavy fighting has continued elsewhere. Each side has blamed the other for the infractions.
The top U.N. official in Sudan, Volker Perthes, told The Associated Press Monday that Sudan's warring generals have agreed to send representatives — potentially to Saudi Arabia — for negotiations.
The Sudanese ambassador to the United States, Mohamed Abdalla Idris, told VOA he hopes the cease-fire will eventually lead to meaningful long-term peace talks.
He said, “a cease-fire, truce, is a two-way traffic,” and said peace can only be realized if all parties respect the terms of any deal.
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