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Sudan fighting displaces more than 1 million people: UN

May 19, 2023

While the majority of people have been displaced internally, hundreds of thousands have fled to neighboring countries too. Meanwhile, the army chief has fired his former ally turned rival from the Sovereignty Council.

A Sudanese woman with her child at a makeshift camp in Chad
The clashes have triggered a humanitarian crisis, as hundreds of thousands flee their homesImage: Gueipeur Denis Sassou/AFP

More than a million people have been displaced by the monthlong fighting in Sudan, the United Nations Refugee Agency said on Friday.

Some 843,000 people have been displaced internally, while another 250,000 have crossed into other neighboring countries, spokesperson Matthew Satlmarsh told reporters in Geneva.

Egypt has seen the highest number of Sudanese refugees arrive in the country with 110,000 people there, Saltmarsh added. Chad, South Sudan and Ethiopia are other countries with large numbers.

"Many of those who have approached us are in a distressed state having been exposed to violence or traumatic conditions in Sudan, and having suffered arduous journey," Saltmarsh said in the briefing.

Sudan crisis: Hospitals damaged and overwhelmed

Burhan sacks RSF leader from Sovereign Council

General Abdel Fattah Burhan sacked General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, widely known as Hemedti, as his deputy on the Sovereign Council with immediate effect.

As the head of the Council, Burhan appointed former rebel leader Malik Agar as the deputy on the Council.

Sudan spiraled into chaos after the two powerful groups of the country; the army led by Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led by Hemedti, turned on each other.

The men were allied in the 2021 coup and the toppling of long-time dictator Omar al-Bashir in 2019.

That led to the establishment of a joint civilian-military Sovereign Council headed by Burhan that was supposed to rule Sudan until elections, set for 2023.

But the integration of the armed forces or how the RSF would be integrated into the military led to tensions between the generals.

Talks for a democratic transition halted after the 2021 coup, but the armed forces and the RSF under international pressure signed a preliminary deal in December to chart a path to democratic transition.

Still, the issue of having control over fighters and weapons wasn't resolved and the tensions ultimately led to a full-blown crisis on April 15.

The conflict has claimed the lives of at least 705 people, the World Health Organization said Friday.

RSF will have to be integrated into a professional army: Gerrit Kurtz, Research Fellow, SWP

rm/rt (Reuters, AP)