East African leaders from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have called for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Sudan as violent clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have resulted in the deaths of at least 56 civilians and injuries to nearly 600 others. The IGAD leaders held an emergency virtual session on Sunday, including President William Ruto of Kenya, Salva Kiir of South Sudan, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti, and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of Somalia, where they expressed deep concern over the escalating conflict.
In a statement issued by the Kenyan Presidency in Nairobi, President Ruto urged IGAD leaders to take a firm position to restore peace in Sudan. The leaders resolved to send Presidents Kiir, Ruto, and Guelleh to reconcile the conflicting groups at the earliest possible time, in an effort to bring about a resolution to the crisis.
The tension between the SAF and RSF has been escalating since Wednesday in the Merowe region in northern Sudan, after the RSF moved military vehicles to a location near a military air base, a move that the army considered illegal. Differences have emerged between the Sudanese army and the RSF, particularly regarding the RSF’s integration into the army as stipulated in a framework agreement signed between military and civilian leaders on December 5, 2022.
The situation in Sudan has resulted in the deaths of at least 56 civilians, as confirmed by Sudan’s Central Doctors’ Committee, with 595 more injured, including critically wounded soldiers. Clashes have erupted in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, and other cities, with both sides accusing each other of initiating the conflict. In response, the IGAD leaders have called on the two parties to the conflict to provide a safe corridor for humanitarian assistance in Khartoum and other affected areas, highlighting the urgent need for humanitarian aid for the affected population.
The East African leaders’ call for an immediate end to the Sudan conflict comes as regional efforts are being made to halt the hostilities and restore peace in the country. The situation remains volatile, and the international community continues to monitor the developments closely, with hopes for a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Sudan.