Sudan: Washington alarmed by possible “imminent” paramilitary offensive in Darfur

American diplomacy alerted Wednesday April 24 of a possible “imminent” paramilitary offensive in Sudan in the town of El-Fasher, in Darfur, a crossroads for humanitarian aid in this country on the verge of famine, ravaged by more than a year of war

Sudan: Washington alarmed by possible “imminent” paramilitary offensive in Darfur

American diplomacy alerted Wednesday April 24 of a possible “imminent” paramilitary offensive in Sudan in the town of El-Fasher, in Darfur, a crossroads for humanitarian aid in this country on the verge of famine, ravaged by more than a year of war.

“The United States calls on all Sudanese armed forces to immediately cease their attacks on El-Fasher,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement. “We are alarmed by reports of an imminent offensive by the Rapid Support Forces [RSF] and its affiliated militias,” he added.

For a year, the war has raged between the Sudanese Armed Forces (FAS) of General Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Al-Bourhane and the paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces, under the command of General Mohammed Hamdan Daglo, known as "Hemetti", plunging the country in a serious humanitarian crisis.

El-Fasher serves as a humanitarian hub for Darfur, a region where about a quarter of Sudan’s 48 million people live. Welcoming many refugees, the city had until then been relatively spared from the fighting. But since mid-April, bombings and clashes have been reported in surrounding villages.

Scorched earth policy

“The United States is extremely troubled by credible reports that the RSF and its affiliated militias have razed numerous villages west of El-Fasher,” noted Matthew Miller, adding that an offensive on the town “ would put residents in a situation of extreme danger.” El-Fasher is the only capital of the five Darfur states that the RSF does not control.

On Friday April 19, the UN had already warned about this “new front” of the conflict. It could “lead to bloody intercommunal conflict across Darfur” and further hamper the distribution of humanitarian aid in a region “already on the brink of famine,” according to the UN under-secretary-general for political affairs. , Rosemary DiCarlo.

The region was already ravaged more than twenty years ago by the scorched earth policy led by the janjawids – militiamen claiming their Arab origin, since enlisted in the FSR – under the presidency of Omar Al-Bashir. The new conflict in Sudan, which began on April 15, 2023, has already killed thousands and displaced more than 8.5 million people, according to the UN.