Sudan faces famine as tens of thousands starve to death

Truck carrying belongings of Sudanese refugees in Chad

Sudan could be the breadbasket of Africa. But due to civil war, it is a place where tens of thousands of people are starving to death. The Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which are fighting Sudan’s military, steal food from the populace, and have damaged irrigation systems, while the military has blocked trucks carrying international food assistance into areas controlled by the RSF.

The RSF interfered with harvests in Sudan’s Jazira state, which is “home to one of the largest irrigation systems in the world.” CNN notes that

Before the war, Jazira produced almost half of Sudan’s total wheat and housed most of the country’s grain reserves….The RSF’s presence effectively prevented farmers from harvesting their crops…“This harvest was badly needed to compensate for the massive production losses that already occurred due to the fighting in other states. The RSF’s violent advances in Jazira state, their targeted destruction of warehouses, Sudan’s gene bank and irrigation systems will inevitably further exacerbate Sudan’s massive food shortages.”

Al Jazeera reports:

One year after the start of the war in Sudan, children are dying of hunger and sick people are not buying medicine so that they can afford food as the population slips towards famine. In mid-April last year, a rivalry between army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the head of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Mohamad Hamdan “Hemedti” Dagalo broke into open conflict. Since then, the fighting and significant destruction, paired with much lower agricultural production, have sent food prices soaring and made it extremely hard to find enough to eat.

“Civilians are dying in silence,” said Mukhtar Atif, a spokesperson for the “emergency response rooms” (ERRs), a volunteer network helping civilians across the country. Atif’s network provides a single meal a day to about 45,000 people out of about 70 community kitchens in Khartoum North, one of the three cities of the national capital region. The ERRs are a lifeline for thousands across Sudan, but their access is limited at times and they rely on donations, most of which come via mobile banking apps, impossible to use since a near-total communication outage began in February. Without access to mobile banking apps, hundreds of kitchens were forced to close, and the queues got even longer at the few still functioning….The fighting has severely restricted the regular movement of food and aid convoys, and the hunger crisis in Sudan has deepened.

Nearly 25 million people – half Sudan’s population – need aid, the UN has estimated….both warring sides are posing obstacles, trying to prevent food from getting to areas controlled by their rival….The army has imposed bureaucratic hurdles: An aid convoy in Port Sudan, under the control of the army, needs five different stamps before being able to move to reach civilians in need – a process that can take from days to weeks, the source said. In January, more than 70 trucks were left waiting for clearance for more than two weeks…More than 70 aid trucks have been stuck in North Kordofan state since October, the source said, in an area the army controls but surrounded by RSF. The convoy cannot leave unless their safe passage is guaranteed through some form of taxation, be it money, goods or fuel.

Tens of thousands of Sudanese previously died of starvation during the war. Thousands of bodies were left decomposing in morgues in the country’s capital. At least 50,000 civilians were killed in fighting between Sudan’s warring factions.

Frankenstein’s monster has turned on its creator, in Sudan. Over a decade ago, Sudan’s military created the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a genocidal militia it used to wipe out villages inhabited by some African tribes in Sudan’s Darfur region. Now, this Frankenstein’s monster, the RSF, is beating the Sudan’s military in a civil war, and has taken over Sudan’s capital region, its breadbasket region, and its vast western expanses. The RSF is looting much of the populace, selling the loot at so-called “Dagalo markets.” It is slaughtering males from western Sudan’s black African Masalit tribe. And it is turning some women into sex slaves, while raping others.

Recently, the RSF renewed its bloody mass killings and rapes to drive the Masalit ethnic group from Sudan into the neighboring country of Chad.

The RSF recently slaughtered 1600 people, almost all Masalit, at a camp for displaced people in Western Sudan.

In Sudan, Arab militias such as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have enslaved thousands of black men to be laborers in western Sudan. They also are abducting women to be sex slaves (both women from rival Arab tribes, and women from African ethnic groups like the Masalit).

Slavery is also making a comeback in the war-torn country of Yemen, which is on the other side of the Red Sea from Sudan. The Toronto Sun reports that the Houthis who rule northern Yemen “are enthusiastic advocates for the vile practice” of slavery…. there are 1,800 slaves” taken by Houthi leaders.

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By GIL