The battles between Sudan’s military and a powerful paramilitary force have displaced more than 1.3 million people, the UN migration agency said on Wednesday.

The International Organization for Migration said the clashes have forced more than 1 million people to leave their homes for safer areas in Sudan. About 320,000 others have fled to the neighboring countries of Egypt, South Sudan, Chad, Ethiopia, the Central African Republic and Libya.

The fighting erupted on April 15 after months of escalating tensions between the military, led by General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces commanded by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. The conflict derailed Sudanese hopes of restoring the country’s fragile transition to democracy, which was disrupted by a military coup led by the two generals in October 2021.

The conflict has killed at least 863 civilians, including at least 190 children, and injured more than 3,530 others, according to the latest figures from Sudan’s Doctors’ Syndicate – which mainly tracks civilian casualties. It has also driven the East African country to near collapse, with urban areas in the capital Khartoum and its neighboring city Omdurman turning into battlefields.

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The conflict in Sudan leaves families starving and struggling to get by


Egypt hosts the largest number of those who have fled, with at least 132,360 people, followed by Chad with 80,000 and South Sudan with over 69,000, the agency added.

Sporadic fighting continued on Wednesday in several areas, despite a ceasefire reached this week. Residents reported hearing gunshots and explosions in central Khartoum as well as areas near military facilities in Omdurman.

The week-long ceasefire brokered by the US and Saudi Arabia took effect on Monday night. It was the latest international effort to push to deliver humanitarian aid to the conflict-stricken country.

A joint statement by the United States and Saudi Arabia late Tuesday warned that neither the Sudanese military nor the rapid support forces were observing the short-term ceasefire.

“The Sudanese people continue to suffer as a result of this devastating conflict,” the statement said. It called on both sides to “fully adhere to their commitments” and to implement the temporary ceasefire to deliver urgently needed humanitarian aid.

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Earlier on Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned both sides of possible sanctions if the latest ceasefire is not followed.

But on Wednesday, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters in Washington that the ceasefire has largely held, despite reports of sporadic fire in Khartoum and elsewhere.

“Ultimately, of course, it is up to the Sudanese armed forces and the rapid support forces to carry this thing out.” Kirby said. “But in general, it seems to be holding up in the main. I want to warn you though, this is early, I mean, went into effect yesterday afternoon. We’ve seen this footage before. So we’re pretty pragmatic when we look at it.”

The fighting has worsened the already dire humanitarian situation in Sudan. According to the United Nations, the number of people in need of aid this year has increased by 57% to reach 24.7 million people, more than half of the country’s population. The international body said it would need $2.6 billion to provide them with much-needed humanitarian aid.

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— Associated Press writers Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Aamer Madhani in Washington contributed.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

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