Sudan Fighting nears Border with South Sudan, UN Envoy Warns

Smoke billows above residential buildings in Khartoum, Sudan on April 16, 2023. PHOTO/AFP

A UN envoy for the Horn of Africa expressed deep concern on Monday about the escalating conflict in Sudan between forces loyal to Generals Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, as it approaches South Sudan’s border and the disputed Abyei region.

The ongoing conflict, which began in April, is causing significant humanitarian, security, economic, and political consequences, and South Sudan’s leadership is increasingly worried, said Hanna Tetteh, the UN special envoy for the Horn of Africa.

She noted that the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have advanced into West Kordofan, taking control of Belila’s airport and oil field, and are now getting closer to Abyei, including parts of the South Sudan border.

Tetteh emphasized that this military confrontation is encroaching upon Abyei’s boundaries and the border with South Sudan.

Furthermore, Tetteh raised concerns about the impact of these military operations on the social fabric of Abyei and the fragile coexistence between the Misseriya and Ngok Dinka tribes, especially given the proximity of elements of the Arab Misseriya tribe to the RSF and ongoing recruitment campaigns by the warring parties.

Abyei, located between Sudan and South Sudan, has been a longstanding source of tension, particularly between the Ngok Dinka communities and the semi-nomadic Misseriya herders.

The conflict between Generals Burhan and Daglo, which began in April, has resulted in over 9,000 fatalities, according to a UN report.

The UN Security Council is set to decide this month whether to extend the 12-year-old UN peacekeeping mission in Abyei, which currently comprises approximately 4,000 military and police personnel.

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Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency. With 2,400 employees of 100 different nationalities, AFP has an editorial presence in 260 cities across 151 countries.