Hunger has killed at least 498 children in war-torn Sudan

Hunger has killed at least 498 children in war-torn Sudan

At least 498 children “and probably hundreds more” have died of starvation in four months of war in Sudan, the NGO Save the Children reported on Tuesday.

In a country where before the war, one in three inhabitants suffered from hunger, “children are dying of hunger when it could have been completely avoided” , alarms Arif Noor, its director in Sudan , in a press release.

“At least 498 children in Sudan and probably hundreds more have died of starvation” since the start of the war on April 15, he adds. “We never imagined seeing so many children dying of starvation but this is the new reality in Sudan.”

And the situation could get worse as Save the Children , unable to operate amid the fighting, had to stop treating “31,000 malnourished children” . In May, the factory that produced 60% of nutritional treatments for children was destroyed.

The war – which could last for years according to experts – between the army and the Rapid Support Forces (FSR, paramilitary) has caused around 5,000 deaths since April 15, according to a report by the NGO Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (Acled). It also forced more than four million people to flee.

Faced with the horror, the international community is struggling to finance aid to displaced persons, refugees, injured and other victims of sexual violence , while international justice is concerned about “war crimes” . Humanitarians, prevented from entering or circulating by the authorities and attacked, repeat that they have only received 27% of their funding needs.

On Tuesday, the violence continued, mainly in Khartoum and Darfur , a western region the size of France where a quarter of the approximately 48 million Sudanese live. There, the fighting is concentrated in Nyala , capital of South Darfur , where since August 11 they have made “60 dead, 250 injured and 50,000 displaced” , according to the UN.

The army reported that its local commander was “murdered” there on Monday. While the fighting prevents access for trucks loaded with humanitarian aid, the Turkish hospital, the only one still functioning in Nyala, said it was overwhelmed by the influx of wounded.

Recently the war has also reached el-Fasher , the capital of North Darfur after, according to the humanitarian research laboratory of the American University of Yale, at least 27 localities in Darfur were burned by the RSF and Arab militias allies.

“Nobody stops the FSR, they move freely while the army is entrenched in its bases” , assures AFP Nathaniel Raymond, director of this laboratory which collaborates with the Conflict observatory.

Coup D’etat : African Union (AU) suspends Niger from its institutions

The African Union (AU) announced on Tuesday to suspend Niger from its institutions after the coup d’etat in this country and displayed a reserved position on a possible West African military intervention, according to a press release from its Peace and Security Council. (SPC).

The African Union on Tuesday suspended Niger from all institutions and activities “until the effective restoration of constitutional order” following last month’s coup.

The council of the 55-nation organization made the move after mutinous soldiers overthrew Niger’s democratically elected president last month and quickly entrenched themselves in power, repelling most dialogue efforts. President Mohamed Bazoum , his wife and son were placed under house arrest in the capital, Niamey.

It was the Council’s first public communication since it met earlier this month to discuss the Niger crisis. The Council called on all member states and the international community to reject the “unconstitutional change of government and to refrain from any action that could lend legitimacy to the illegal regime in Niger”.

The AU Commission and the West African regional bloc , ECOWAS, have been asked to urgently submit a list of members of the military junta and their military and civilian supporters, including those implicated in the violation of human rights of Mr. Bazoum’s man and other detainees, with a view to targeted sanctions, the statement said.

Relatives of Bazoum claim that electricity and water have been cut to him and that he has run out of food. Human rights groups say they were unable to access ministers and political elites who were detained by the junta after the coup.

Until now, Niger was seen by Western countries as one of the last partners in the Sahel region, below the Sahara Desert, with whom they could work to counter a growing jihadist insurgency linked to Al-Qaeda. and the Islamic State group. France and the United States have some 2,500 military personnel in the country.

ECOWAS , which has struggled to repel a series of coups in recent years, has threatened to use force if Mr Bazoum is not reinstated. But the deadline for his reinstatement passed without any action being taken. An ECOWAS delegation visited Niamey last weekend, but officials say talks yielded little and the junta is pursuing its own plans, saying it will restore constitutional order in the country within three years.

The AU has not ruled on the possibility of resorting to military force.

The AU Peace and Security Council could cancel a military intervention if it deemed that it threatened the stability of the continent. Analysts believe that if ECOWAS rejects the use of force, there are few grounds on which it could invoke legal justification.

“While ECOWAS member states have endorsed the military intervention aimed at restoring Mohamed Bazoum to power, the AU remains divided and hesitant on the use of force. Some countries are opposed to military intervention,” said Rida Lyammouri, senior fellow at the Policy Center for the New South, a Morocco-based think tank.

The Council urged the military to place the interests of Nigeriens above all else and to immediately and unconditionally return to barracks and submit to civilian authorities.