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Regional Sudan Response Situation Update, 5 September 2023


IOM calls on all parties to ensure the safety of humanitarians and allow their unrestricted access to be able to assist those most vulnerable. IOM’s Response Overview for the Sudan Crisis and Neighboring Countries contributes to addressing the humanitarian needs inside Sudan and the complexities of a mixed movements response that is inclusive of the needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs), migrant returnees, third country nationals (TCNs), host communities, refugees and Government entities responding to the crisis. IOM’s planned response was coordinated with Governments and humanitarian partners.


Last week, Lieutenant General Al Burhan, leader of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), met with Egypt’s President, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, in Egypt to discuss the situation in Sudan and ongoing efforts to resolve the crisis, reaffirming the commitment to end the war whilst raising concerns over a possible fragmentation of the country if the conflict is not resolved. Continuing his regional tour, Al Burhan met with South Sudan’s president Salva Khiir on 4 September to discuss regional efforts to find a solution to the conflict. Meanwhile, the Rapid Support Forces’ (RSF) Political Advisor and Special Envoy, Yousif Izzat, met with the African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, in Addis Ababa on 3 September to discuss RSF’s vision to end the war and ongoing AU and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) initiatives to resolve the political crisis in Sudan.

Between 30 August and 6 September, the Forces of Freedom of Change (FFC)- Central Council are set to meet with regional government representatives in Qatar, South Sudan and Kuwait to discuss ways to end the war and restore stability in Sudan.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Interior has announced the successful retrieval of the civil registry database during the launch of the new Passports Facility in Port Sudan. The issuance of passports is set to resume across the country with the exception of North Darfur and North Kordofan. The announcement was met with dissatisfaction among the population due to the high cost per passport – however, long queues were also reported outside the Passports Facility. On 29 August, the General Intelligence Service (GIS) released an announcement calling for former Special Operation Forces members to return to service. Following the partial re-opening of Sudan’s airspace, Egypt Air announced the resumption of commercial flights between Cairo and Port Sudan – the first flight was operated on 5 September.

As reported in the previous weeks, various groups continue to express their support for one or the warring parties, whilst others, like the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) continue to reiterate their neutrality and proposed a roadmap to end the war. Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sudan (SRSG) Volker Perthes met with representatives of the signatory armed movements under the Juba Peace Agreement on 29 August – during the meeting representatives reaffirmed their neutrality in the conflict and also presented ongoing efforts to establish local ceasefires in South, West and Central Darfur in the same line as the one brokered in North Darfur.

Khartoum and adjacent neighbourhoods remain the epicentre of the conflict between SAF and RSF. Over the last week heavy artillery fire and air strikes were reported across three districts of Khartoum, including Omdurman and Kalakla, where at least 20 casualties were reported, while RSF continued its offensive on the Armoured Corps in Al Shajara. In El Obeid, North Kordofan, heavy fighting between SAF and RSF resulted in at least 17 casualties and 41 injured, whilst clashes between SAF and RSF in Wad Ashan (outside of Um Rawaba where fighting has been taking place over the last weeks) resulted in the destruction of power transmission lines and consequential blackout across the state. Fighting between SAF and RSF reportedly continued in Nyala, however, Governor of Darfur, Minni Minnawi, confirmed the deployment of the Joint Forces of the Armed Struggle Movement (ASM) in the area in effort to protect civilians. Minni Minnawi also recently met with Lieutenant General Al Burhan to discuss the situation in Darfur, humanitarian impact of the conflict and future implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement. In Geneina, West Darfur, the acting governor issued a statement confirming a ceasefire agreement between the warring parties. According to local reports, clashes also resumed in Zalingei, Central Darfur.

In South Kordofan, fighting between the SAF and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North-AL Hilu (SPLM/N-AH) was reported in and around Kadugli and in Dalami and to date, over 50,000 people were forcibly displaced. In response to the ongoing fighting in Kurmuk, Blue Nile, the regional government of Asosa in Ethiopia showcased its support for those displaced by the conflict between SAF and SPLM/N-AH, whilst, according to Ethiopian media channels, the Ethiopian army is also conducting operations along the Asosa-Geisan border in efforts to prevent the raise of smuggling or other similar activities. In Eastern Sudan, SAF recruitment and mobilization efforts continue across its recruitment camps, in Gedaref the first recruitment camp for women was launched.

DTM Sudan estimates that 4,075,930 individuals (814,521 households) have been recently internally displaced. The IDP caseload has been observed in all of Sudan’s 3,733 locations across all of Sudan’s 18 states. The highest proportions of IDPs have been observed in River Nile (12.24%), South Darfur (11.93%), East Darfur (11.47%), Northern (8.93%), Sennar (7.87%), and North Darfur (7.17%). Field teams report that the IDPs observed were originally displaced from 8 states. The majority (2,820,325 IDPs, 69.19%) have been reportedly displaced from Khartoum state; followed by South Darfur (14.86%), North Darfur (7.99%), Central Darfur (3.71%), West Darfur (3.24%), South Kordofan (0.56%), North Kordofan (0.44%), and Aj Jazirah (0.01%). DTM Sudan also estimates that approximately 2.66% of the IDP caseload are non-Sudanese nationals.

In addition to the internal displacement, the conflict in Sudan has caused the mixed cross-border movements of 1,104,360 individuals into neighbouring countries with Chad receiving the most arrivals followed by Egypt, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Central African Republic, and Libya. 67% of arrivals tracked in those countries were Sudanese nationals and 33% estimated foreign nationals and returnees. The majority of arrivals were reported in Chad (42.1%), Egypt (25.8%), and South Sudan (22.9%).

As the conflict approaches its sixth month, the socio-economics impact of the war beyond the devastating humanitarian impact begins to emerge. In some states, farmers have reportedly been prevented from cultivating their fields. During the Arab League’s 112th ordinary session, farmers at the Gazera Scheme, the largest irrigated agricultural project in the Sudan, warned of a failure of the summer season’s crops including cotton, sorghum and ground nuts citing a number of challenges. In Zalingie, most parts of the town resemble “ghost towns” with little to no access to food and water. Those who fled into Chad speak of the difficult and sometimes deadly journey, whilst testimonies from women in Northern Bahr el Ghazal (NBeG) State, South Sudan indicate the systematic use of sexual violence by non-state armed groups along the road into South Sudan. Meanwhile, Chad announced the partial re-opening of the border with Sudan allowing for the commercial movement of goods between the two countries.

The UN appeals for over USD 1 billion to provide essential aid and protection to more than 1.8 million people fleeing the conflict in Sudan. Following the alarming increase in the number of people affected and displaced by the crisis, IOM’s response overview has been revised to target 1.9 million people (from 944K) with USD 418 million (from 209 million) over a period of 8 months instead of 6.

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