Escalating Violence in South and West Kordofan States Draws Concern from UNITAMS

Escalating Violence in South and West Kordofan States Draws Concern from UNITAMS

Published: August 20, 2023 
Source: UNITAMS via ReliefWeb

Sudan — The United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) has expressed deep concern over the recent surge in violence witnessed in the South Kordofan and West Kordofan States. Populated areas in these regions have become the epicenter of conflict, prompting urgent attention.

Reports reveal that Kadugli, a city in South Kordofan State, bore the brunt of hostilities on August 16, 2023, as shelling by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM/N) - Al Hilu led to heightened tensions. The situation escalated with heavy shelling and armed clashes involving the SPLM/N and the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), culminating in the displacement of local residents and the tragic loss of civilian lives.

Similarly, the town of El Fula in West Kordofan State experienced a significant upsurge in violence starting from August 16. A fierce confrontation between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) resulted in not only military clashes but also the looting of vital establishments including government offices, banks, United Nations and NGO offices. However, with the intervention of local tribal leaders, the fighting was brought to a halt, and a semblance of calm was restored.

Commenting on the alarming situation, Volker Perthes, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sudan and Head of UNITAMS, stated, “These latest military developments are deplorable since these two Kordofan states have managed to avoid large-scale military confrontation in populated areas in the past months. All military actions and mobilization must stop immediately to ease the sufferings of the affected population. The warring parties should return to dialogue to settle their differences."

UNITAMS is urgently urging all military entities operating in Sudan to exercise restraint and refrain from actions that could potentially escalate the ongoing conflict. The safety of the civilian population and essential infrastructure must remain paramount. The mission emphasizes the importance of fostering peace initiatives, such as the successful intervention of local leaders in El Fula, and advocates for their encouragement and support.

In light of the escalating violence in South and West Kordofan States, the international community is urged to pay heed to these developments and actively support efforts aimed at preventing further armed conflict and protecting the well-being of innocent civilians.