Civil war in Sudan: 100 days of devastation and ongoing strife

Civil war in Sudan: 100 days of devastation and ongoing strife

Conflict in Khartoum spilled over to southern and western cities as power struggle between rival armed forces continues

By Omer Erdem

KHARTOUM (AA) - The conflict in Sudan, caused by power struggle between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), marked its 100th day on Tuesday, inflicting severe damage to infrastructure, healthcare, education, economy, and society.

The conflict erupted on April 15 in the capital, Khartoum, and swiftly spread to southern and western cities.

The situation evolved in the vacuum created following the ousting of former President Omar al-Bashir after 30 years of rule in April 2019.

According to the Sudanese Health Ministry, over 3,000 people have been killed in the clashes, and the number of casualties on both sides is estimated to be in the thousands, although no official statistics are available.

UNICEF reported that at least 435 children have been killed and 2,025 children have been injured in the conflict.

The UN stated that about half of Sudan's approximately 50 million population is in need of humanitarian aid, with 14 million children requiring assistance.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that more than 2.6 million people have been internally displaced due to the conflict, while at least 730,000 have sought refuge in neighboring countries such as Egypt, Chad, and South Sudan.

The conflict has caused widespread violations of human rights, including massacres, murders, torture, looting, robbery, sexual harassment, and abduction of children and child soldiers, further tarnishing Sudan's already troubled human rights record.

The people of Sudan have expressed dissatisfaction with the response of the international community to the crisis.

Despite regional and international efforts to end the war diplomatically, a permanent cease-fire and agreement seem distant.

The indirect talks held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in May with mediation by the US, ended abruptly in June when the RSF violated the cease-fire and failed to abide by their commitments.

Although representatives of the parties returned to Jeddah on July 15, negotiations have not yet begun due to ongoing disputes.

Sudan's northern neighbor, Egypt, which is greatly affected by the instability in Sudan, initiated its own peace efforts with a summit of Sudan's neighboring countries in Cairo.

Leaders of Egypt, Libya, Chad, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Eritrea reached a consensus on a permanent cease-fire, opening humanitarian corridors, preventing bloodshed in Sudan, and mitigating the negative implications of conflicts on neighboring countries' security and stability.

The conflict has caused significant damage to Sudan's healthcare, economy, and education systems.

According to the Sudan Doctors Union, 70% of hospitals in Khartoum and other conflict zones are out of service, and active hospitals are at risk of closure due to shortages of medical staff and supplies, water, and electricity cuts.

The war interrupted the education of hundreds of thousands of local and foreign students, leaving many with no choice but to leave Sudan.

Sudan's already struggling education system has suffered further devastation due to the political crises, coups, and pandemics of the past five years.

The conflict has also left thousands of homes and businesses unusable, with many looted and plundered. Nearly all banks, chain stores, and diplomatic missions in the capital have been looted. There have been many allegations that the RSF forced citizens to leave their homes and settled their relatives in these places.

Since April, civil servants have not received their salaries, and though official statistics are not available, the war is believed to have caused billions of dollars in damage to the economy.

The parties have largely disregarded cease-fires throughout the 4-month conflict, and about five million people in Khartoum facing electricity, water, fuel, and food shortages, and living in fear of disease and conflict, are now trapped.

As the intense battles with heavy weapons and warplanes continue between Khartoum and the country's southern and western regions, millions of civilians await support to find a resolution and rebuild their lives.

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