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What is Going On in Sudan?

By Maryam H Asghar

Staff Writer

Via UN News

As of February 9th, 2023, Sudan marks 300 days of its ongoing war between two rival

military factions while civilians undergo the consequences of the conflict. Every day, civilians in Sudan are being killed and displaced as the conflict continues to rage, as noted by Amnesty International.  But what lies behind the curtains of this crisis that needs to be shed light on?

If there were a date to pinpoint as the “beginning” of the war in Sudan, April 15th,

2023 quickly comes to mind. However, the political struggle between the Sudan Armed

Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) did not escalate overnight. In December 2018, civilians began revolting against the former president of Sudan Omar Al-Bashir’s decades-long military regime, calling for the establishment of a democracy within the country. A few months later, in 2019, SAF leaders, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and  RSF leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (Hemeti) joined forces to successfully overthrow Bashir. They later accepted a power-sharing agreement as part of a civilian-led transitional council towards a democracy the protestors in Sudan longed for. Unfortunately, Burhan and Hemeti, once friends and allies, turned their backs on one another. They disagreed on the merging of a portion of the RSF with the SAF which would limit Hemeti’s political influence. This power struggle led to Burhan and Hemeti releasing armed men from the SAF and the RSF all across Sudan, initiating the ongoing war on April 15th.

Amidst the political havoc, civilians are being greatly impacted by the political crisis as they are losing hope for a democratic Sudan. Sudan’s population is facing a humanitarian crisis that is worrying emergency aid workers. “If the war continues like this,” says Elsadig Elnour, Islamic Relief’s Country Director in Sudan, “I fear that the whole country will collapse” (Islamic Relief). 

Indeed, the Sudanese population is facing mass displacement and high rates of violence. An increase of 500% in cases of killing, sexual violence, and recruitment has been observed in comparison to last year according to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). The RSF have also been reported to be ethnically targeting and killing civilians en masse in West Darfur. Furthermore, Sudan’s population is also encountering the deadliest form of malnutrition. UNICEF reports that 700,00 children are likely to suffer from wasting and, if the situation does not improve, it will only be able to treat about 42.86% of the total number of children suffering. Moreover, the healthcare systems are being destroyed as a result of the war, depriving two-thirds of the population of access to healthcare and possibly heading towards a collapse of the healthcare system.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 24.8

million people in Sudan need assistance and 14.7 million people are targeted by the OCHA for assistance in 2024. Moreover, 6.14 million people have been internally displaced and 1.61 million people have crossed the Sudanese border since April 15th, 2023. The OCHA estimates that 2.7 billion dollars in funding are required for the crisis in Sudan, but it has only reached 4% of its goal with only 94.5 million dollars in funding received. There is yet a long way to go to help Sudan with 2.606 billion dollars to raise in funding.

Regrettably, without adequate emergency aid, the civilians will continue to face the brutal consequences of the war. Although the Sudan crisis is known as a war between the Sudan Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, innocent civilians caught in the turmoil bear the disastrous crisis. “Amid so many children overlooked, it’s important to remember what families and communities are doing: most health workers in Sudan haven’t been paid a penny since the war started,” according to UNICEF. Communities in Sudan are supporting one another through these hardships while the media and news outlets have turned a blind eye to the issue.


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