Sudan freezes ties with east African bloc: Foreign ministry

AFP , Tuesday 16 Jan 2024

Sudan's army-aligned government on Tuesday suspended ties with east African bloc IGAD, accusing it of "violating" the country's sovereignty by inviting a rival paramilitary chief to a summit.

Sudanese army officials
Sudanese army officials greet the crowd during a meeting with the city s governor supporters and members of the Sudanese armed popular resistance, which supports the army, in Gedaref, Sudan. AFP


Nine months after war broke out between the regular army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, the army has been losing territory while paramilitary leader Mohamed Hamdan Daglo has been touring African capitals.

In a further boost to his diplomatic standing, IGAD extended an invite to Daglo to a summit in Uganda on Thursday, which he accepted.

But the move prompted the foreign ministry, loyal to army chief and Sudan's de facto leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, to announce it was suspending its relationship with the bloc.

It accused IGAD of "violating Sudan's sovereignty" and setting a "dangerous precedent".

The bloc, in parallel with the United States and Saudi Arabia, had repeatedly attempted to mediate between the two warring generals, but to no avail.

On Saturday, the ministry had already accused the bloc of lending Daglo's "militia" legitimacy by inviting it to a meeting that will be attended by member heads of state and government.

Burhan had recently accused the bloc of bias and seeking to intervene in "an internal matter".

Daglo is fresh off a tour of six African capitals including IGAD members, while analysts say the army chief is growing more and more isolated diplomatically, as his troops lose ground to RSF advances.

Burhan has reacted angrily to Daglo's growing diplomatic status, accusing African leaders receiving him of complicity in atrocities against Sudanese civilians.

Both sides have been accused of war crimes, including the indiscriminate shelling of residential areas, torture and arbitrary detention of civilians.

The RSF has also specifically been accused of ethnically-motivated mass killings, rampant looting and the use of rape as a weapon of war.

The war has killed more than 13,000 people, according to a conservative estimate by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data project.

Some 7.5 million civilians have fled the fighting either abroad or to other parts of the country, according to UN figures.

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