In a move to allow trapped civilians to escape to seek medical treatment, food and other essential supplies, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed on Thursday for a three-day cease-fire in Sudan over the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Fitr.
Guterres did not specify when the cease-fire should start. The three-day holiday begins in Sudan on Friday.
Since fighting broke out between Sudanese troops and paramilitary forces on Saturday, he said humanitarian operations have become “virtually impossible” and warehouses, vehicles and other humanitarian assets have been attacked, looted and seized.
Three UN World Food Programme (WFP) workers were killed and two injured in clashes on Saturday in Kabkabiya in North Darfur.
“Targeting humanitarian workers and assets must end,” Guterres told reporters. “I am also extremely worried about the situation of United Nations personnel, many of whom are trapped in their homes in areas of active conflict.”
The UN has about 4,000 staff in Sudan, of which 800 are international staff, and said before the violence erupted nearly 16 million people throughout the country — one-third of the population — were in need of humanitarian aid.
Guterres spoke to reporters after meeting virtually with the heads of the African Union, Arab League, regional African bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and other relevant organizations.
“There was a strong consensus on condemning the ongoing fighting in Sudan and calling for a cessation of hostilities,” Guterres said.
He said a three-day Eid truce must pave the way for a permanent cease-fire.
“The cessation of hostilities must be followed by serious dialogue allowing for the successful transition, starting with the appointment of a civilian government,” Guterres said. “The fighting must stop immediately.”