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EU Ambassador to Sudan assaulted at his home in 'gross violation' of international law

Sudan has been gripped by a brutal resurgence of violence between two rival factions.
Sudan has been gripped by a brutal resurgence of violence between two rival factions. Copyright Marwan Ali/AP
Copyright Marwan Ali/AP
By Jorge Liboreiro
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Foreign affairs ministers across Europe condemned the attack as a "gross violation" of the Vienna Convention.

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The European Union's Ambassador to Sudan, Aidan O'Hara, was on Monday assaulted at his home in Khartoum, an episode that fellow diplomats have described as a "gross violation" of international law.

In a separate incident on Monday, a diplomatic convoy from the United States came under attack.

It comes in the midst of a resurgence of violence in Sudan between two opposing factions: the armed forces commanded by General Abdel-Fattah Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary group led by General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo.

The two sides, who had struck an alliance during the 2021 military coup, are now fighting each other to gain control over the resource-rich African nation, home to more than 46 million people.

Tensions had been brewing for weeks but seriously escalated over the weekend, when a battle between the now-rival factions erupted in the country's capital, Khartoum, using heavy weapons.

The brutal standoff has created a power vacuum and left at least 185 people killed and over 1,800 wounded, according to figures provided by the United Nations.

"A few hours ago, the EU Ambassador in Sudan was assaulted in his own residency," Josep Borrell, the EU's foreign policy chief, announced on Monday evening.

"This constitutes a gross violation of the Vienna Convention. Security of diplomatic premises and staff is a primary responsibility of Sudanese authorities and an obligation under international law."

The circumstances of the assault are still unclear.

A spokesperson of the European Commission later said O'Hara was "OK" and "not injured."

"He is continuing his duty and we are in touch with him," the spokesperson told Euronews, without providing any more details about the incident.

Foreign affairs ministers across Europe voiced their commendation and urged Sudanese authorities to abide by international law.

Micheál Martin, Ireland's fellow foreign affairs minister, described O'Hara as an "outstanding Irish diplomat serving (the) EU in difficult circumstances" and called for a cessation of hostilities.

His Dutch counterpart, Wopke Hoekstra, said he was "outraged" by the attack and expressed his "full solidarity".

"The Vienna Convention must be respected to ensure the safety of diplomats and allow them to carry out their work," Hoekstra said, referring to the 1961 international treaty that establishes diplomatic premises and houses of ambassadors are inviolable.

Latvia's Edgars Rinkēvičs, called the episode "outrageous" while Austria's foreign affairs ministry said "security needs to be restored immediately."

This piece has been updated to include more details.

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