Sudan’s army has asked the United Nations to replace its envoy to the country as it calls for reservists and ex-soldiers to re-enlist amid ongoing clashes with rival paramilitary forces.
Veterans were called on Friday to show up at the nearest military base, days after a truce between the army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) faltered.
Sporadic fighting continued during the internationally-backed truce, but ceasefire monitors – Saudi Arabia and the United States – said on Friday that compliance was improving.
An army spokesman said enlistment would be voluntary. However, Sudan’s existing armed forces law stipulates that retired soldiers remain in the reservists and are eligible for compulsory re-enlistment. This does not include those who only served two years of compulsory military service in the Sudan.
Sudanese presidency sources said army leader Abdul Fattah al-Burhan wrote to U.S. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday asking him to replace special envoy Volker Pertes .
Appointed in 2021, Potus has pushed for a political transition to civilian rule but has faced opposition from some in the military.
“The secretary-general is appalled by the letter,” UN spokesman Stephen Dujarric said on Friday. “The Secretary-General is proud of the work Volker Perthes has done and reiterates his confidence in his Special Representative.”
The army and Rapid Support Forces began a seven-day truce on Monday aimed at allowing access to aid and services. The conflict, which began in mid-April, is thought to have killed hundreds and sparked a refugee crisis.
Despite the slowdown in fighting, there were reports of clashes, artillery fire and airstrikes throughout the week.
Residents of Khartoum who remained in the city suffered regular interruptions to electricity, water, sanitation and communications services. Many houses, especially in wealthy areas, were looted, as well as food stores, flour mills and other vital facilities.
Some 1.3 million people are thought to have fled their homes, either across borders or within the country. The health ministry says at least 730 people have died, but the true number is likely to be much higher.
Half of Sudan’s roughly 49 million people need aid, and USAID says it can ship enough food to feed 2 million people for a month.
However, without security guarantees and bureaucratic approval, it is unclear how this and other aid will reach the Sudanese people.
“We are in a race against time to reach millions of people before the monsoon rains in June,” said Islamic Relief project manager Eltahir Imam.