Sudan: Over 55,000 flee as clashes spread southwards

Over 55,400 people have fled Sennar State capital Sinja as the conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) spreads southwards, UN agencies have reported.

A situation update by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), quoting a report from the International Organization for Migration Displacement Tracking Matrix (IOM DTM), said the people fleeing Sinja had arrived in Gedaref, Blue Nile, and White Nile and Kassala states.

The report released on Monday said that clashes that started in Jebel Moya in Sennar locality, Sennar State on June 26, had three days later spread to the state capital locality. Sinja Town is situated on the west bank of the Blue Nile, about 360km to the southeast of Khartoum.

According to the OCHA update, local media reports, quoting local sources, said elements of the RSF ransacked and looted shops, homes, and the main market in Sinja Town. RSF has reportedly taken control of the military headquarters, the main police headquarters, and the state government building.

“Unverified videos on social media show people leaving the town in vehicles and on foot, carrying few possessions. People fleeing Sinja report that transportation costs have skyrocketed, and vehicles are scarce,’’ OCHA said.

OCHA also quoted the government’s Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) in Gedaref State as reporting that up to 130,000 people could be expected to flee Sennar State over the coming days.

While promising further flash updates as the situation develops and key information arises on humanitarian needs and response, OCHA lamented that reporting from Sennar State has been affected by local disruptions in communication networks (mobile phones and internet).