The conflict in Sudan, which has left thousands dead and seven million people displaced over seven months, is spreading to new regions of the nation, the UN said Thursday, warning of a mounting "humanitarian calamity."
The United Nations assistant secretary-general for Africa, Ghanaian diplomat Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, expressed alarm over the deteriorating crisis in a Security Council meeting, where she told members: "Sudan is facing a convergence of a worsening humanitarian calamity and a catastrophic human rights crisis."
War erupted in Sudan on April 15, pitting army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan against his former deputy, Rapid Support Forces (RSF) commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, in fighting that has left more than 9,000 people dead, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project.
The number is widely considered an underestimate.
More civilians at risk
"Hostilities have spilled over to new areas, such as Gezira, White Nile and West Kordofan states, placing even more civilians at risk as well as humanitarian operations," Pobee said.
She said the RSF made significant military gains in Darfur from October 26 to November 4, taking control of Sudanese army bases in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state; Zalingei in Central Darfur; and the West Darfur state capital of El Geneina.
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"The warring parties have reportedly carried out indiscriminate attacks, while also conducting targeted attacks against civilians, in apparent violation of international humanitarian law," she added.
Despite the difficulties, some 4.1 million people have received humanitarian aid in the last seven months -- but that amounts to just 22 percent of the people whom humanitarian organizations aim to assist this year.
Sudan's warring parties resumed negotiations late last month in Jeddah, brokered by Saudi Arabia and the United States. While both parties expressed willingness to negotiate a ceasefire, the fighting on the ground has intensified, Pobee said.