The United Nations envoy to Sudan warned on Monday of the growing “ethnicisation” of the military conflict that broke out in Sudan last month and the potential impact on neighbouring states.
“The growing ethnicisation of the conflict risks engulfing the country in a prolonged conflict, with implications for the region,” Volker Perthes said during a briefing at the U.N. Security Council.
More than five weeks of fighting in Khartoum have trapped millions in their homes or neighborhoods.
Residents have reported worsening lawlessness and looting, as well as crippling power and water outages. Supplies of food have been running low in some areas, and most hospitals have ceased to operate.
The death toll in the armed clashes between the Sudanese Army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has risen to 863, the Sudanese Doctors Union said on Monday.
“The number of civilian deaths since the beginning of the clashes has risen to 863 with 3,531 injuries,” the nongovernmental body said in a statement.
Over 1 million people have been displaced since the conflict began on April 15, fleeing to safer locations inside and outside Sudan, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its latest report on Sunday.
It added that over 843,100 are internally displaced within Sudan and over 248,000 people have crossed borders into neighbouring countries, including Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia and South Sudan.
On Saturday night, the Sudanese Army and the RSF signed the Agreement on a Short-Term Cease-fire and Humanitarian Arrangements in the Saudi Arabian port city of Jeddah under Saudi-U.S. patronage.
The 7-day cease-fire is set to enter into force on Monday at 9:45 p.m. local time (1945 GMT).
The agreement brokered in Jeddah is focused on allowing in aid and restoring essential services. Mediators say further talks would be needed to seek the removal of forces from urban areas to broker a permanent peace deal with civilian involvement.
According to the deal, the parties shall guarantee the freedom of movement of civilians throughout the country and protect them from violence, harassment, recruitment, or other abuse, as well as refrain from any violations of international human rights law.
The parties shall also provide security guarantees for safe, unhindered access for humanitarian agencies.
Sudan has been witnessing deadly armed clashes between the Sudanese Army and the RSF in the capital Khartoum and other areas since April 15.