US intelligence chief warns of ‘protracted’ fighting in Sudan
A deadly conflict has been raging in Sudan for the past 20 days.
US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told a US Senate hearing on Thursday that the fighting between the two warring generals could continue as both sides believe they can win militarily and have few incentives to seek peace.
The two sides are on the lookout for external sources of support, which – if possible – will potentially intensify the clashes, she said.
Additionally, Haines voiced concerns over the violence worsening already-dire humanitarian conditions, strengthening the possibility of massive refugee flows and aid needs in the region.
Clashes continued in the capital, Khartoum, between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) for the 20th straight day Thursday after the latest truce between both sides failed. The two parties had agreed to a seven-day ceasefire.
Fierce fighting could be heard on Thursday in the capital as the regular army tried to push back the paramilitary force from areas around the presidential palace and army headquarters. While the general command of the army headquarters is under the control of the military, the presidential palace is under the control of the RSF, Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan reported.
Since Wednesday, the Sudanese army has been trying to regain control of the presidential palace, she added, highlighting people said they were not able to leave their houses owing to the clashes.
Heavy fighting was also reported from the adjoining cities of Omdurman and Bahri.
Meanwhile, the UN pressed the warring parties to ensure safe passage of relief supplies after six trucks were looted. UN aid chief Martin Griffiths said he hoped to have urgent face-to-face meetings with both sides to secure guarantees from them for aid convoys.
The UN has raised warnings over the fighting potentially triggering a humanitarian catastrophe that could spill into other countries in the region. The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said it was preparing for a migration of 860,000 people from Sudan, adding a whopping $445 million would be required to support them just through October.
While 550 people have so far been killed in the conflict, 4,926 have sustained injuries of varying severities, Sudan said on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the UN says roughly 100,000 people have already escaped to neighboring countries with little food or water.