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The Africa Report

Sameera Casmod |
05 December 2023 | 12:44 p.m. CAT
2-min read

Oil fields in West Kordofan, Sudan Picture: Earth Journalism Network/Elzahra Jadallah

In the Africa Report on Radio Islam International, Saeed Abdullah, a Sudanese journalist based in Johannesburg, provided an update on the situation in Sudan, discussing the Security Council’s decision to terminate the United Nations mission in the country.

The UN mission, known as United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), was put in place in 2020 to support the transition government after the 2018 uprising.

In October 2021, however, Sudanese army general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan assumed control in a coup.

On April 15, conflict erupted between the Sudanese army led by al-Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. This was just before the signing of a deal to resume the transition to ‘democracy’.

Al-Burhan demanded that UNITAMS chief Volker Perthes be sacked a few weeks later, blaming him for the violence. Perthes stepped down in September and has not been replaced.

In November 2023, the government in Khartoum demanded the immediate end of UNITAMS, saying the mission had been “disappointing”.

A recent draft resolution to terminate UNITAMS was passed.

It is important to note that Sudan has rich oil reserves, a great deal of which is drilled in West Kordofan State, which is in the southwestern part of the Kordofan region.

In the 1970s, American and French companies started oil exploration in Sudan. Asian companies now dominate the oil sector in the region.

Contentious energy politics among rival elites have been ongoing for 30 years and form the context of the ongoing war and dire humanitarian crisis in Sudan.

It appears that external influences instigate conflict within nations that have rich natural resources. These external actors then monopolise the natural resource sector, and supposedly ‘help’ the general population in return.

Abdullah stated that the people in Sudan are currently caught in the crossfire and are suffering without access to essential humanitarian aid. This brings to attention the cost of war to human life in the quest for capital gain.

As the termination unfolds, the people of Sudan are directly affected, drawing parallels with other global conflicts such as the situation in Gaza. Abdullah emphasised that the lack of external pressure on the Sudanese military and RSF indicates a prolonged period of suffering for the Sudanese people.

Oil companies operating in South Sudan have been found complicit in war crimes, because oil money is funding the government-controlled security forces in the country’s war.

The on-the-ground situation remains grim, with conflict persisting in various parts of the country. The RSF, labelled as militias by the Sudanese government, continue to gain territory, leading to accusations of external support from the United Arab Emirates. Attempts at ceasefires and peace negotiations, including recent talks in Jeddah, have faced setbacks, further diminishing hopes for a swift resolution.

In the midst of these challenges, Saeed Abdullah urged for increased international efforts and the involvement of key stakeholders to pressure the warring parties into a ceasefire. The journalist stressed that the current trajectory, marked by a lack of attention and desire for peace, does not bode well for the people of Sudan.

As the conflict continues unabated for more than eight months, the deteriorating situation on the ground highlights the urgent need for a ceasefire to bring stability and allow for much-needed humanitarian aid. The people of Sudan anxiously await global attention and support as they endure the devastating consequences of prolonged conflict.

Listen to the Africa Report on Sabaahul Muslim with Mufti Yusuf Moosagie.


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