Moussa Faki Mahamat, the leader of the African Union commission, is preparing to “immediately” travel to Sudan on a peace mission, the organisation announced on Sunday as combat between the army and paramilitaries entered its second day.
In a statement released after an emergency meeting, the AU stated that it “requests the chairperson of the AU commission to continue using his good offices to engage with the parties to the conflict in order to facilitate dialogue and peaceful resolution of the conflict in Sudan; and commends his commitment to immediately travel to Sudan to engage the parties towards a ceasefire.”
On the mission, no additional information was obtained right away.
Expressing “grave concern and alarm,” the pan-African body also called on the forces of the two battling sides to “protect civilians especially women and children.”
The AU statement also demanded that the warring sides “swiftly embrace a peaceful solution and inclusive dialogue to resolve their differences” and said it “strongly rejects any external interference that could complicate the situation in Sudan.”
The U.N. Security Council, the European Union, the African Union, and the United States have all called for an immediate end to the hostilities that have the potential to exacerbate instability in a wider region that is already unstable.
After weeks of power battles between army leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, commander of the heavily armed paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), his deputy, violence erupted in Sudan early on Saturday.
At least 59 people, including three United Nations employees, were killed in airstrikes on rival paramilitary forces’ bases on Sunday, witnesses said, as the Sudanese army appeared to take the upper hand in the violent power battle.
On the second day of battle with paramilitaries, the Sudanese armed forces declared that they had “agreed to a U.N. proposal to open safe passage for humanitarian cases,” including the evacuation of wounded.
The heavily-armed RSF also put out a statement that they had agreed to the measure, though they said it would last four hours, and both sides maintained their right to “respond in the event of transgressions” from the other side.
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