After two weeks of fighting that has turned Khartoum into a warzone and thrown Sudan into turmoil, a wide range of international mediators – including African and Arab nations, the United Nations and the United States – are intensifying their pressure on Sudan’s two rival generals to enter talks on resolving the crisis.
So far, however, they have managed to achieve only a series of fragile, temporary ceasefires that have failed to stop fighting but created enough of a lull for tens of thousands of Sudanese to flee to safer areas and for other countries to evacuate thousands of their citizens by land, sea and air.
About 40,000 South Sudanese, Ethiopian and Eritrean refugees who had been living in the capital have fled Khartoum and been displaced yet again since the fighting erupted, the UN’s refugee agency said. Many are now sheltering in refugee camps in White Nile, Gadarif and Kassala states, said Fathi Kasina, an agency spokesman. Sudan has taken in more than 1.3 million refugees, including at least 800,000 from South Sudan, according to UN figures.
The people who remain in Khartoum have been living in rapidly deteriorating conditions. Most have been trapped inside their homes for days. Food, water and other services have become scarce, and electricity is cut off across much of Khartoum and other cities where fighters roam the streets, looting and destroying homes, shops, businesses and open-air markets.
At least 528 people, including civilians and combatants, have been killed since April 15 with nearly 4,600 wounded, according to the Sudanese Ministry of Healthy. The Sudan Doctors Union tracks civilian casualties and has recorded at least 387 civilians killed and 1,928 wounded.