Breaking News: UN Reports 55,000 Flee Sinja as RSF Seizes Strategic City in Sudan

Sudan : The United Nations announced on Monday that 55,000 people have fled Sinja in southeastern Sudan after the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) claimed control of the city from the Sudanese military.

The loss of Sinja, the state capital of Sennar province, is a significant setback for the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), who were overpowered last week when the RSF unexpectedly stormed the city of 250,000 residents.

The conflict in Sudan has already displaced over 10 million people. Since the fighting erupted between the RSF and SAF in April 2023, approximately 150,000 people have been killed, according to U.S. estimates.

Displaced residents of Sinja arrive in Gedaref, near the country’s border with Ethiopia, on 1 July 2024 (AFP)

The government’s Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) in Gedaref expects up to 130,000 more people to flee Sennar state in the coming days. The World Food Programme has enough food in Gedaref to meet the needs of 50,000 people. Many Sudanese fleeing Sinja are heading towards the Blue Nile state capital of Damazin, according to AFP reports. However, Damazin already hosts an estimated 600,000 displaced people who have fled fighting in Khartoum and other areas.

Gedaref, meanwhile, already hosts large numbers of refugees from neighboring Eritrea, as well as internally displaced Sudanese. The seizure of Sinja, located in a fertile region, has increased Gedaref’s vulnerability to RSF attacks. In response, leaders in Gedaref have called for a nighttime curfew.

The RSF’s advances in Sennar are likely to exacerbate Sudan’s severe food security issues. Last week, UN experts accused both SAF and RSF of deliberately using starvation as a weapon of war. A UN-backed report found that 25.6 million people, more than half of the population, face high levels of “acute food insecurity,” with 755,000 people in famine conditions and at risk of imminent death.

In response to the news, Samantha Power, USAID Administrator, stated, “This suffering is completely unacceptable. The RSF & SAF must end their aid obstruction so humanitarians can reach the most vulnerable.”

On Monday, the RSF, led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemeti, described the capture of Sinja as “crucial,” calling the city “strategic.” “The enemy suffered heavy casualties, numbering in the hundreds. Our troops have also taken control of all key institutions in the area, including the state government headquarters,” the RSF posted on social media platform X.

The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has achieved another significant victory by liberating the 17th Senga Infantry Division. Our forces now control the capital of Sennar after defeating the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), its allies in the terrorist Islamic Movement, and the Popular Defense Forces

In other developments, the Halfaya Bridge, a vital link between Khartoum North and Omdurman, was partially destroyed on June 30, according to reports in the Sudan Tribune. This bridge was the last remaining Nile crossing in the capital after the Shambat and Jebel Aulia Dam bridges were targeted in November last year. Both the RSF and the Sudanese army have blamed each other for the incident, another example of the ongoing conflict devastating Khartoum’s infrastructure.

EAR Editor’s Note: This breaking news story is sourced from Middle East Eye, a publication renowned for its independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond. Middle East Eye has consistently provided in-depth reporting and insightful commentary on key issues affecting the region, often bringing to light stories that mainstream media overlook.


Related Articles

Back to top button