Sudan: Army makes major advances amid impending famine

major advances

Sudan’s army head said it will push on after making major advances against Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitaries, according to Reuters.

On March 12th, army units took control of the radio and TV headquarters in Omdurman, part of the greater Khartoum area. The RSF, which has generally had the upper hand over the course of the conflict, had held the area since it began in April 2023.

Though TV and radio broadcasts had stopped prior to the operation, the advance extended the army’s reach across the old centre of Omdurman, strategically important for its military bases, formerly a resupply point fort RSF forces.

The army’s recent gains on the edge of the capital are its largest in the conflict thus far.

Sudanese army chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, told troops at Omdurman’s Engineer Corps base on March 12th that “our message to the RSF rebels is that the armed forces and regular military services will go after you everywhere until victory is achieved.”

READ: Algeria warns against foreign interference in Sudan

According to Burhan, his forces will continue to fight the RSF in the capital itself, and in the Darfur and al-Jazira states to the south, and will not consider international appeals for a ceasefire during Ramadan unless the RSF agrees to a major military withdrawal.

On March 14th, the FT reported accounts of atrocities committed by members of Sudanese army-adjacent Special Work Forces, upon taking Omdurman, including rape and murder. The army has failed to comment on the allegations; however, women’s campaigners say more than 1,000 women have been raped by both army and RSF fighters in greater Khartoum alone.

The war, which broke out over the terms of a planned transition from military to civilian rule, has caused more than eight million to flee their homes in the world’s largest displacement crisis.

Tripling in the past year, number of Sudanese people estimated to face “crisis level hunger,” one stage before famine, has reached nearly five million. While some in Omdurman have struggled to access food, the army’s recent gains have eased the situation slightly.

READ: War-torn Sudan faces world’s largest hunger crisis

On March 13th, the international charity Save the Children claimed that around 220,000 severely malnourished children and over 7,000 new mothers in Sudan could die from hunger in the coming months, unless more funding for humanitarian aid is provided.

Relief efforts have been badly hampered by the denial of access and looting of aid supplies. Fighting across the country has also greatly affected the supply of foods used to treat severely malnourished children, according to Save the Children.

Reuters / Financial Times


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