The UN refugee agency is making plans for hundreds of thousands of people spilling over Sudan’s borders to escape violence, according to officials.
UNHCR officials told a Geneva briefing they are poised for 270,000 people to flee across Sudan’s borders – a preliminary planning figure that includes Sudanese refugees crossing into South Sudan and Chad, as well as South Sudanese returning home.
The estimate so far only covers two of Sudan’s seven neighbours as projections for Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Central African Republic and Libya are not yet ready.
Egypt’s Al Ahram newspaper reports that efforts are being made to set up a meeting between army commander Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and RSF leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo in Saudi Arabia.
Al Jazeera spoke to Shihab Ibrahim, spokesman for the Forces of Freedom and Change, who said the discussions were still in the preliminary stages and relied on the truce holding.
“Saudi Arabia … is trying to present an initiative in coordination with the United States to use this 72-hour truce to convince the two sides that there be a ceasefire first and then negotiations,” Ibrahim said.
The Forces of Freedom and Change is an alliance that spearheaded protests that removed President Omar al-Bashir in 2019.
The International Committee of the Red Cross welcomes the announced ceasefire as a “potential lifesaver for civilians” trapped in their homes in areas where fighting has broken out.
“It’s clear that this ceasefire must be implemented up and down the chain of command and that it must hold for it to give a real respite to civilians suffering from the fighting,” said Patrick Youssef, ICRC’s regional director for Africa.
He called on the international community to help find a “durable political solution to end the bloodshed”.
An expert in Chad politics says the flow of refugees into Chad from Sudan comes at a time when humanitarian aid was already under stress in the eastern African nation.
“From previous Sudanese conflicts, eastern Chad already hosts 400,000 Sudanese refugees,” Remadji Hoinathy, form the Institute of Security Studies told Al Jazeera from the Chadian capital N’Djamena.
“Chad is very willing to receive the [new] refugees. But the challenge is … it is happening in the context where the World Food Programme is saying there are difficulties in providing for refugees that already in the country,” he added.
“It is a situation that is already putting the international help system in Chad under stress.”
Source: Al Jazeera