The United Nations Secretary-General has voiced deep concern over escalating violence in West Darfur and called on the Sudanese authorities to “expend all efforts” to end the fighting and protect civilians.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Secretary-General António Guterres called on the Sudanese authorities to “expend all efforts to de-escalate the situation”.
Secretary-General @antonioguterres voices deep concern over deadly clashes in West Darfur, calling on Sudanese authorities to expend all efforts to bring an end to the fighting. https://t.co/DQ2H2WLbMg
— UN Spokesperson (@UN_Spokesperson) January 18, 2021
He also called on them to “bring an end to the fighting, restore law and order and ensure the protection of civilians, in accordance with the Government’s National Plan for Civilian Protection.”
Guterres also expressed his condolences to the bereaved families and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.
The violence occurred about two weeks after the African Union-United Nations hybrid peacekeeping mission in the region (UNAMID) ended its operations at the end of 2020. UNAMID is currently drawing down and the process is expected to complete by the end of June 2021.
The vast Darfur region, roughly the size of Spain, has been plagued by conflict and inter-communal tensions for years. Millions have been displaced by the violence, including many who fled into neighbouring Chad.
According to media reports, at least 83 people, including women and children, have been killed and more than 160 wounded in inter-communal clashes this weekend. Several houses are also said to have been destroyed and about 50,000 people displaced.