There is little hope that the fighting in Sudan will end soon


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Status: 04/26/2023 10:08 a.m

The Bundeswehr completed its evacuation flights from Sudan in the evening. Although the ceasefire in the country is holding “in some parts” according to the UN, there is little hope that the fighting will end any time soon.

According to the United Nations, the US-brokered ceasefire in Sudan has so far held “in some parts”. However, there are no signs that the warring parties are ready to “seriously negotiate, which indicates that both think that a military victory over the other side is possible,” said the UN special envoy for Sudan, Volker Perthes the UN Security Council. This is a miscalculation.

The Sudanese armed forces and the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have been fighting for power in Sudan since April 15. At least 459 people were killed and more than 4,000 injured. The US-brokered 72-hour ceasefire has been in effect since Monday midnight. Two ceasefires previously agreed by both parties to the conflict had not been observed.

A fourth German flight has brought other people from Sudan to safety.

Continued fighting in Khartoum

In the capital Khartoum, fighting around the Palace of the Republic, the international airport and the headquarters and bases of the army and RSF “largely continued or in some cases intensified,” Perthes said.

Airstrikes and heavy shelling, especially in the towns of Omdurman and Bahri just outside Khartoum, also continued. The airport is reportedly back in operation, but the aprons are damaged. There are also numerous reports of burglaries, looting of houses and shops and cars stolen at checkpoints. UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for an end to the violence before the UN Security Council and warned of the outbreak of a full-scale war.

Bundeswehr closes evacuation operation im Sudan ab

The Bundeswehr has meanwhile completed its evacuation mission in Sudan. In the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, another A400M aircraft with 78 people landed in Jordan, the Federal Ministry of Defense announced on Twitter. This increases the total number of evacuees to more than 700 – including around 200 Germans.

Defense Minister Boris Pistorius had dem ARD Capital Studio with a view to the last flight announced for Tuesday evening: “Then that’s it for now. As far as we have an overview through the Federal Foreign Office, everyone who was reachable was also reached and made their way to the airport.” Germans who are still in Sudan and have not yet made it to the airport should be taken on evacuation flights from other countries in the coming days.

Pistorius and Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock thanked all civil and military forces “for their great work on the evacuation mission” on Tuesday.

The head of the “Afghan local staff sponsorship network” complained in an interview with the ARD Capital Studio meanwhile, no arrangements were made for the local workers who are now being left behind.

Bundestag is to vote on the mandate today

Because of the acute danger situation, the Bundeswehr mission was initially launched on Sunday without the parliamentary approval that was actually required. The federal government wants to keep the option open to continue the mission in Sudan until the end of May. The Bundestag should vote on a corresponding mandate on Wednesday and thus also subsequently approve the mission.

Up to 1,600 soldiers should be able to take part, and in an emergency this number could be exceeded, according to the government’s mandate application presented on Tuesday. The mandate expressly includes “the use of military force to enforce the order”.

As far as the current political perspective for Sudan is concerned, the Federal Government expresses a pessimistic assessment in its application for a mandate. “In recent days, the security and threat situation in Sudan has deteriorated dramatically,” the text says. The inner-Sudanese unification process supported by the international community has been thrown back a long way.

The Bundeswehr has so far rescued almost 500 people from Sudan.

criticism from the Union flow of information

The “continued escalation of violence in large parts of the country and in the capital Khartoum” made it necessary for the Bundeswehr to intervene, the federal government writes in its application. The aim of the Bundeswehr mission is to protect “the life and limb of German nationals and other authorized persons”.

A clear majority can be expected when the Bundestag votes on the mission mandate. The opposition Union indicated that it was willing to agree, but criticized the information policy of the federal government and some ambiguities in the mandate application.

Several other countries fly out citizens

Meanwhile, a plane with 104 evacuees from Sudan landed in Eindhoven, Netherlands. As the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in the evening, the people were first taken to Jordan before they could fly from there to the Netherlands. The 104 evacuees include not only Dutch people, but also nationals from other nations.

Britain flew its first nationals to Cyprus on Tuesday. At least two more evacuation flights should take place during the night, a spokesman for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said.

Significantly more Britons than nationals of other nations have to endure in Sudan.

Schulze: Evacuation of helpers could have dramatic consequences

German Development Minister Svenja Schulze believes that the hasty evacuation of German and international aid workers could have dramatic consequences. A third of the population in Sudan is already dependent on food aid from abroad, and the number is increasing every day, the SPD politician told the “General-anzeiger” from Bonn.

The fact that the parties to the conflict have agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire is therefore good news. “In this way, people can provide themselves with water and bread or medicines.” A brief ceasefire could only be the beginning of a lasting ceasefire and conflict resolution, said Schulze. “Because only then can we resume our work.” Schulze demanded that the military hand over its power to a civilian government.

AND: conflict parties disregard protection of civilians

According to the United Nations, indiscriminate attacks by the two parties to the conflict in Sudan continue to endanger the lives of civilians. “Both warring factions have disregarded the laws and norms of attacking densely populated areas, with little regard for civilians, hospitals or even vehicles transporting the wounded and sick,” UN mediator Perthes said at the UN Security Council meeting on Tuesday.

For example, a well-known Sudanese-American doctor was stabbed to death in Khartoum. Bushra Ibnauf Sulieman was head of the medical faculty at the University of Khartoum. He was killed in front of his house, according to the Sudanese Medical Association. He had long worked in the United States, where his children live, but had returned to the north-east African country to train doctors. Colleagues said he had been treating people injured in fighting across the country in the past few days.

Perthes called on both sides to comply with the obligations of international humanitarian law and to ensure the protection of the civilian population and civilian infrastructure. There are also “disturbing reports of attempted sexual assault.” Perthes, who had moved his place of work to the city of Port Sudan for security reasons, says he is still in regular contact with the rival generals in Sudan.

With information from Kai Küstner, ARD capital studio

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