3 UN workers killed as Sudan conflict spirals out of control

Three United Nations employees were killed in Sudan on Sunday as the conflict between rival military factions escalated.

The victims were working with the World Food Program in Darfur. The UN responded by shutting down the aid effort in Sudan.

“While we review the evolving security situation, we are forced to temporarily halt all operations in Sudan,” said WFP director Cindy McCain. “WFP is committed to assisting the Sudanese people facing dire food insecurity, but we cannot do our lifesaving work if the safety and security of our teams and partners is not guaranteed.”

In a separate incident in the capital of Khartoum, a WFP plane was damaged by gunfire at Khartoum International Airport.

Sudan’s latest internal conflict erupted Saturday, when the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces claimed to seize multiple cities and key buildings in Khartoum.

Both the RSF and the Sudanese military claimed to have the upper hand as fighting continued across the country on Sunday. Khartoum’s airport remained nearly unusable due to the conflict.

Residents of Khartoum, the seventh-largest city in Africa and home to more than 6 million people, spent the weekend sheltering in place as gun battles ripped through the city streets and fighter jets roared overhead.

“They are shooting against each other in the streets,” said prominent rights advocate Tahani Abass. “It’s an all-out war in residential areas.”

The conflict is an extension of a power struggle between Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of Sudan’s military, and Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, leader of the RSF.

Burhan and Dagalo are former allies who led an October 2021 coup that upended Sudan’s young democracy.

The UN attempted to facilitate a three-hour ceasefire agreement on Sunday, but the fighting continued.

“Heavy explosions and gunfire around the clock,” city resident Amany Sayed said. “The battles here [in the capital] never stopped.”

At least 61 civilians have been killed in the first two days of fighting, according to the Sudan Doctors’ Syndicate. Dozens of rival combatants have likely been killed and wounded, the group said.

With News Wire Services

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