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IMMINENT WARNING: BOMBARDMENT AT UNIVERSITY IN SUDAN KILLS 10 CONGOLESE NATIONALS

Region of Concern: Sudan; The Democratic Republic of Congo

Written By Iris Hautaniemi Forsberg; Edited by Cameron Munoz, Senior Editor

Date: June 7, 2023


International University of Africa campus in Khartoum[1]


Event: On Sunday, June 4, bombardments from the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) hit the International University of Africa campus in Sudan’s capital Khartoum, killing ten people from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Congolese Ministry of Foreign Affairs released the information after a meeting between Foreign Minister Christophe Lutundula and the Sudanese embassy’s Chargé d'Affaires, Musab Altoum, in Kinshasa.[2] It is unclear if the people killed were students of the university or people that sought refuge in the campus area. The conflict in Sudan arose on April 15 between the SAF and the paramilitary force Rapid Support Forces (RSF), and the humanitarian truce negotiated on May 22 officially ended on Saturday evening. RSF fighters often hide in residential areas in the capital, which are frequently targeted from the air by the SAF.[3] Many international students, particularly Nigerian, have been stranded in Khartoum since the fighting started. Both students and other people seek refuge within the campus compound.[4]


Significance: Attacks on civilian areas will very likely continue from the SAF and the RSF, resulting in increased civilian casualties. Fighting and bombardments in the city will likely exacerbate humanitarian problems, such as getting access to food, water, and medicines. As the war continues within city areas, it will likely become more challenging for foreign governments to evacuate their nationals. An increase in foreign casualties is likely to lead to intensified pressure from the international community on the Sudanese government to negotiate a ceasefire between the two warring parties. Countries with their own internal conflicts, like the DRC and Nigeria, will likely find it more challenging to effectively evacuate their citizens because of the need for military capacity internally. These countries will very likely have to cooperate with other countries to safely evacuate their citizens from Sudan. The inability to evacuate citizens from some countries, such as the DRC and Nigeria, while other nations evacuate their citizens has a roughly even chance of resulting in protests and dissent towards the Congolese and Nigerian governments.


Recommendations: The Congolese government should continue its dialogue with the Sudanese government and intensify pressure on the government to stop the SAF from targeting civilian areas. The Congolese government should also immediately initiate dialogue with other countries with citizens in Sudan to develop evacuation plans and routes together. The United Nations should exert more pressure on the warring parties to establish humanitarian corridors for civilian evacuation, so supplies like food, water, and medication can reach communities in need. The United Nations should also strongly condemn all attacks on schools and hospitals and lobby for these areas not to be targeted by the SAF. Humanitarian organizations such as the International Red Cross and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) should provide humanitarian supplies wherever it is deemed safe and be on standby for possible delivery within Khartoum in case of a humanitarian corridor. Countries that have managed to evacuate their citizens out of Sudan, such as the US and Saudi Arabia, should help countries struggling to do the same.

 

[2] Soudan: 10 Congolais tués par des bombardements effectués sur le campus de l'Université internationale d'Afrique à Khartoum, Radio Okapi, June 2023, https://www.radiookapi.net/2023/06/06/actualite/societe/soudan-10-congolais-tues-par-des-bombardements-effectues-sur-le-campus (Translated by Google)

[3] Sudan conflict: Army accused of killing Congolese in campus bombing, BBC News, June 2023, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-65821597

[4] Hundreds of Nigerian students still stranded in the conflict-hit Sudan, Africa News, May 2023. https://www.africanews.com/2023/05/01/hundreds-of-nigerian-students-still-stranded-in-the-conflict-hit-sudan/

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