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Conflict in Sudan: Rising death toll – The plight of local Greeks

Featured Conflict in Sudan: Rising death toll – The plight of local Greeks

Chaos prevails in Sudan since last Saturday (15.04), when the bloody power struggle between the country’s army and powerful paramilitary forces began. From what became known on Sunday, the Sudanese army prevailed over the opposing paramilitary forces.

According to Reuters, citing sources from the Sudanese doctors’ association, at least 97 civilians have been killed and 365 wounded since the fighting began in Sudan. Among the wounded there are also two wounded Greeks. These clashes were caused by disagreement between the two sides over the integration of the RSF into the military as part of the transition to civilian rule.

A three-hour pause in the battle

Burhan and Hemedi agreed to a three-hour ceasefire from 4 p.m. local time (1400 GMT to 1700 GMT) to allow humanitarian evacuations proposed by the United Nations, the UN mission in Sudan said, but the agreement was widely ignored after a brief period of relative calm.

As night fell, residents reported the crackle of artillery and the roar of warplanes in the Kafouri district of Bahri, home to an RSF base, across the Nile River from the capital Khartoum.

Eyewitnesses told Reuters the army renewed airstrikes on RSF bases in Omdurman, Khartoum’s sister city across the Nile, and the Kafouri and Sharg El-Nil districts of neighboring Bahri, driving RSF fighters to flight. .

Efforts to end the violence are intensifying

The United States, China, Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UN Security Council, the European Union and the African Union have called for a swift end to hostilities that threaten to exacerbate instability in an already volatile wider region. .

Efforts by neighbors and regional agencies to end the violence intensified on Sunday. Egypt has offered to mediate and the regional African bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development plans to send the presidents of Kenya, South Sudan and Djibouti as soon as possible to reconcile the warring Sudanese factions, Kenyan President William Ruto’s office said on Twitter.

Orthodox Metropolitan of Nubia on Sudan: Fierce clashes have started again

The Metropolitan of Nubia and all Sudan, told Greek state broadcaster ERT that they spent a quiet night, but as soon as dawn broke, the clashes started again, while shooting is unabated. He said that among the 15 people there are Greeks, Ethiopians, Sudanese and Russians.

To a question about how the situation is within the Metropolis and what needs there are, he replied that there is no problem and that there are supplies. “We are waiting for what will happen from now on,” he emphasized.

He said that there has been communication with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and constant contact with the Ambassador of Greece in Cairo while adding that “at the moment it is very difficult to find a solution due to the situation that exists”.

“We have not found a solution that we can implement as we cannot go out into the street,” the Metropolitan said at another point in the interview. Regarding the condition of the two Greeks who were injured, he said that it is stable.

Clashes continue in Khartoum

An army statement said clashes were continuing in the area of the military headquarters in central Khartoum and that RSF soldiers were placing snipers in buildings, but they were being “monitored and dealt with”. According to Reuters information, the army had carried out airstrikes on RSF barracks and bases in the Khartoum area and managed to destroy most of the paramilitary facilities.

The statement also said the military had also recaptured much of Khartoum’s presidential palace from the RSF, after both sides claimed to control it, as well as other key facilities in Khartoum, where heavy artillery fire was raging throughout Sunday. Members of the RSF remained inside Khartoum’s international airport, which was besieged by the military, but the military held back its strikes to avoid causing major damage, witnesses said.

Testimonies of residents of Khartoum

“We are scared, we haven’t slept for 24 hours because of the noise and the shaking of the house. We are worried about running out of water and food and medicine for my diabetic father,” Huda, a young resident of southern Khartoum, told Reuters.

A vicious standoff could plunge Sudan into widespread conflict as it grapples with economic collapse and ethnic violence, derailing efforts to hold elections.

Powerbrokers Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have sought to shape events in Sudan, seeing the ouster of strongman Bashir as a way to stem Islamist influence and improve stability in the region.

They have also sought investment in areas such as agriculture, where Sudan has enormous potential, and ports on Sudan’s Red Sea coast.

The number of casualties on the rise

The Sudanese Medical Association said in a statement that at least 97 civilians were killed and 365 injured. The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors said earlier that at least 56 civilians had been killed and 595 people, including militants, had been injured since the fighting broke out.

Dozens of soldiers were killed, the doctors’ commission said, without giving a specific number due to a lack of first-hand information from hospitals. The U.N.’s World Food Program said it has temporarily halted all operations in famine-stricken areas of Sudan after three Sudanese staff were killed during fighting in North Darfur and a WFP plane was shot down during a shootout at Khartoum airport. .

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the killings and called for accountability. “Those responsible must be brought to justice without delay,” Guterres said on Twitter. “Aid workers are #NotATarget.”

The condition of the two injured Greeks

Among the injured are two Greeks who were injured yesterday, Saturday, by a rocket that fell near the church, where they had gone to inform the faithful about the situation. The honorary consul of Greece in Sudan, Gerasimos Pagoulatos, spoke to MEGA channel about the condition of the two injured.

“I spoke to one of the two Greeks who are in the hospital, Fidel, and because of the situation people cannot move around because there is fighting in the streets, the operation they had planned in order to remove shrapnel from the missile which exploded injuring one in the legs, and the other in the stomach area has yet to be undertaken”, he said characteristically.

“Their condition so far is considered stable, it does not inspire concern. So far they have hit one in both legs and the other in one leg, in the abdomen and above the eye, they were to operate today, unfortunately they cannot find blades and the medical stores that supply the blades to the hospitals are closed. So we are waiting, we are waiting for the surgery”, said Metropolitan Savvas for his part.

A Greek house was hit by a rocket without causing any injuries. “They are all hampered down, only tanks are outside at the moment, we are 60-70 Greeks in Sudan,” said Mr. Pagoulatos, still speaking to ANT1 channel.

Greek foreign ministry response

Greece's foreign ministry has advised the citizens of the country to avoid travelling to Sudan, while urging those already in the country to observe the highest possible caution and keep abreast of developments in the area.

"In view of the security situation in Sudan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises Greek citizens to avoid non-essential travel to the country. At the same time, Greek citizens currently in the country are advised to be regularly informed of developments, avoid unnecessary travel, and observe the highest possible security measures," the ministry said in an announcement issued on Holy Saturday.

It also noted that Greece does not have a Diplomatic/Consular Mission in Sudan and that the competent authority is the Greek Embassy in Cairo, Egypt