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UAE accused of fueling war by providing weapons to Sudan's paramilitary rivals

FILE - Sudanese soldiers from the Rapid Support Forces unit, led by Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy head of the military council, secure the area where Dagalo attends
FILE - Sudanese soldiers from the Rapid Support Forces unit, led by Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy head of the military council, secure the area where Dagalo attends Copyright Hussein Malla/Copyright 2019 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Hussein Malla/Copyright 2019 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Euronews with AP
Published on Updated
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Over 14,000 people have been killed and 33,000 injured in the conflict raging since early 2023, according to the UN.

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The Sudanese government on Tuesday accused the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of fueling the 14-month war in the African country by providing weapons to a rival paramilitary force.

The UAE dismissed the allegation as "ludicrous," calling it "a shameful abuse by one of the warring parties".

The clash came during a UN Security Council meeting at which Assistant Secretary-General Martha Pobee warned that atrocities are being committed along ethnic lines in Sudan's western Darfur region.

She urged an immediate cease-fire in the North Darfur capital, El Fasher, which is besieged by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces "to prevent further atrocities, protect critical infrastructure, and alleviate civilian suffering."

Sudanese Ambassador Al-Harith Mohamed accused the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces of "destructively launching" its war with the Sudanese military and attacking civilians, aided by weapons from the UAE.

He said that Sudan has evidence of the UAE supplying weapons and that the government will submit a file on UAE actions to the International Criminal Court.

The UAE's ambassador, Mohamed Abushahab, said those were "false allegations" and demanded to know why Sudan's government refused to return to peace talks.

Turning to Sudan's ambassador seated beside him at the Security Council's horseshoe-shaped table, Abushahab said, "You should stop grandstanding in international fora such as this and instead take responsibility for ending the conflict you started."

Arms embargo monitors claim 'credible evidence'

UN experts monitoring an arms embargo in Darfur reported "credible" evidence in January that the UAE sent weapons to the Rapid Support Forces several times a week from northern Chad.

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Tuesday reiterated an appeal to all "external actors to stop fueling and prolonging this conflict and enabling these atrocities by sending weapons to Sudan."

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Sudan's Mohamed urged the council to "walk the extra mile by naming and shaming the United Arab Emirates."

Edem Wosornu, operations director for the UN humanitarian office, told the council the lives of 800,000 civilians trapped in El Fasher "hang in the balance," echoing the risk of mass atrocities and warning that the violence in the encircled city "is just the tip of the iceberg."

She said indiscriminate bombings are affecting millions of people in Darfur, sexual violence remains rampant, and "famine is imminent."

Almost 5 million people face emergency levels of food insecurity and over 2 million in 41 "hunger hotspots are at high risk of slipping into catastrophic hunger in the coming weeks," Wosornu said.

Sudan's internal displacement surpasses 10 million

Sudan plunged into conflict again in mid-April 2023, when long-simmering tensions between its military and paramilitary leaders broke out in the capital, Khartoum, and spread to other regions, including Darfur.

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The UN says over 14,000 people have been killed and 33,000 injured.

The paramilitary Rapid Support Forces were formed from Janjaweed fighters by then Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who ruled the country for three decades before being overthrown during a popular uprising in 2019.

He is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide and other crimes during the conflict in Darfur in the 2000s.

Last Thursday, the Security Council adopted a resolution demanding the Rapid Support Forces immediately halt its siege of El Fasher — the only capital in Darfur it doesn't control.

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The council also urged the paramilitary force and Sudan's military "to seek an immediate cessation of hostilities".

Two decades ago, Darfur became synonymous with genocide and war crimes, particularly by the notorious Janjaweed Arab militias, against populations that identify as Central or East African.

Up to 300,000 people were killed, and 2.7 million were driven from their homes.

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