Sudanese authorities loyal to the regular army have declared UN envoy Volker Perthes “persona non grata”, accusing him of taking sides in nearly two months of devastating fighting with rival paramilitaries.
Fighting has raged in the North African country since mid-April, when army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands paramilitary rapid support forces, turned .
In a letter to the United Nations last month, Burhan accused the envoy of bias, failure to respect “national sovereignty” and exacerbating fighting between the regular army and the RSF.
UN chief Antonio Guterres has defended Perthes on several occasions.
“The Government of the Republic of Sudan has notified the Secretary General of the United Nations that it has declared Mr. Volker Perthes… persona non grata effective today,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Thursday evening.
A Sudanese government official who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity said the decision was made “because he sided with certain political parties and stressed that the political process should be limited to certain parties and exclude others”.
“When the head of the sovereign council (Burhan) wrote to the UN secretary general asking him to be replaced, and he did not respond, the Sudanese government had no choice but to make that decision,” the official added.
The UN has yet to comment on the announcement. He noted in a tweet on Thursday that Perthes was in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa for a series of talks.
– Fresh fights –
Sudan has been embroiled in a deadly conflict since April 15, with fighting spreading across the country from Khartoum to the western region of Darfur in defiance of a series of truces.
Witnesses reported hearing clashes on Friday near the Yarmouk weapons manufacturing and arms depot complex in Khartoum, from where plumes of smoke were seen rising for a second consecutive day.
Airstrikes were also carried out in the eastern parts of the capital and the sound of anti-aircraft guns was heard.
Since the fighting broke out, more than 1,800 people have been killed, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project. According to the UN, nearly two million people have been displaced, of whom 476,000 have sought refuge in neighboring countries.
Those unable to leave have been forced to camp for weeks as supplies of food and other vital goods run out.
Whole neighborhoods in Khartoum no longer have running water, the electricity network is only available for a few hours a week and three-quarters of the hospitals in the combat zones are not working.
The most recent truce was agreed to allow desperately needed humanitarian aid to areas ravaged by fighting, but like all before it, the accord has been flouted by both sides.
The UN estimates that around 25 million people – more than half of Sudan’s population – are now in need of assistance.
– Blame trade –
Perthes and the UN mission he heads have been the target since late last year of protests backed by the military and Islamists denouncing perceived foreign interference.
A former academic who has headed the mission in Sudan since 2021, Perthes has strongly defended the UN against accusations of stoking the conflict, saying those responsible are “the two warring generals”.
In his letter to the UN chief, Burhan accused Perthes of presenting a misleading image of “consensus” in his reports to the UN, and “without these signs of encouragement, rebel leader Daglo would not have launched its military operations”.
It has never been possible to verify who fired the first shots of the war.
Daglo, an ambitious militia leader originally armed by Bashir to crush rebels in Darfur, was Burhan’s second-in-command before the two fell out, most recently over integrating the RSF into the army. .