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NEW YORK - 14 May 2024

UN chief ‘gravely concerned’ by clashes in El-Fasher

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is “gravely concerned” by fighting in recent days between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur State, a spokesman said Monday.

The international community has recently warned of a looming offensive on El-Fasher, the last major city in Darfur that is not under control of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

Guterres is “alarmed by reports of the use of heavy weaponry in densely populated areas, resulting in dozens of civilian casualties, significant displacement and the destruction of civilian infrastructure,” Farhan Haq, a spokesman for the secretary-general, said in a statement.

The UN chief is particularly concerned for civilians in the area who “are already facing a looming famine and the consequences of over a year of war,” Haq added. 

He repeated Guterres’s call for an immediate ceasefire and for all parties to allow civilians to move to safer areas and facilitate unimpeded humanitarian access. 

Since April 2023 Sudan has been gripped by a devastating war between the army, headed by the country’s de facto leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the paramilitary RSF, commanded by his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.

Fighting broke out last Friday and ran into the weekend with air strikes in the north and east of El-Fasher, as well as artillery fire.

On Friday alone, clashes between the army and RSF left at least 27 people dead and 130 injured, the United Nations said.