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UN chief calls on rival Sudan leaders to end violence | UN News

As the fighting escalated, Antonio Guterres called on the military and paramilitaries to restore calm and engage in dialogue.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has strongly condemned the outbreak of violence in Sudan, calling on the leaders of the warring parties to immediately cease hostilities and engage in dialogue.

Guterres made the comments on Monday, the third day of fighting between Sudanese troops and the powerful Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group.

About 100 civilians have been killed so far, according to doctors, but there are fears the death toll could be much higher. Both sides claim to have made progress in strategic areas, but there is no information on the number of fighters killed.

Fighting between forces loyal to Army Commander-in-Chief Abdul Fattah al-Burhan and Rapid Support Forces Commander Mohammad Hamdan Dagalo has forced residents to stay at home due to power outages and lack of water. Hospitals were shelled and looting was reported.

In his opening remarks at the Development Finance Forum in New York on Monday, Guterres said he had spoken to the two rival leaders and urged them to return to calm — though both Burhan and Dagalo said they did not want talks .

“This situation has already resulted in a horrific loss of life, including many civilians,” the UN secretary-general said. “Any further escalation could be devastating to the country and the region.”

“I urge all those with influence on the situation to use it for the cause of peace and support efforts to end the violence, restore order and return to the path of transition,” Guterres said.

The violence has again interrupted Sudan’s fragile transition to democracy after longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir stepped down in 2019.

“The humanitarian situation in Sudan is already precarious and is now catastrophic,” Guterres said, reiterating the United Nations’ “full support” for the people of the country in their efforts to “restore a democratic transition and build a peaceful and secure future.”

The UN Security Council was due to meet behind closed doors later on Monday to discuss the situation in Sudan.

Meanwhile, the ICRC’s Alyona Synenko said the situation for civilians was “getting worse” as fighting overwhelmed hospitals.

Synenko told Al Jazeera: “The priority now is to enable medical personnel such as first responders to provide emergency care to injured people.”

She added that the fighting took place near densely populated civilian neighborhoods and infrastructure.

“If this critical infrastructure is compromised, the impact on urban populations will be severe,” Synenko said.

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