Sudan’s RSF to open safe passages from key Darfur city

Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have announced plans to establish “safe passages” for civilians to leave el-Fasher, a city in Darfur that has been embroiled in intense fighting for weeks.

In a post on X late Friday, the RSF expressed their “readiness to help citizens by opening safe passages to voluntarily leave to other areas of their choosing and to provide protection for them.”

El-Fasher, the capital of North Darfur, was previously a vital hub for humanitarian aid and a refuge for many, but is now contested by the RSF and the regular army.

The RSF urged el-Fasher residents to “avoid conflict areas and areas likely to be targeted by air forces” and to ignore calls to mobilize and join the conflict.

Sudan has been plagued by conflict for over a year between the regular army, led by de facto ruler Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the RSF, commanded by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.

This conflict has resulted in the deaths of up to 15,000 people in El-Geneina, West Darfur, according to UN experts.

Doctors Without Borders reported that their hospital in North Darfur had received over 450 fatalities from the fighting since May 10, though they noted the actual death toll is likely much higher.

The UN’s humanitarian coordinator highlighted that Sudanese residents are “trapped in an inferno of brutal violence” and face an increasing risk of famine due to the rainy season and obstructed aid deliveries.

Since the war’s onset in April 2023, tens of thousands have died and millions have been displaced. On Friday, the UN warned it had only received 12 percent of the $2.7 billion needed for Sudan, cautioning that “famine is closing in.”

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