Sudan war: Govt plans food relief for trapped Ugandans

People flee their neighbourhoods amid fighting between the army and paramilitaries in Khartoum, Sudan on April 19, 2023. PHOTO/AFP

What you need to know:

  • Officials say they are trying to find companies to deliver the relief items to the Ugandans.

Government is looking for ways it can distribute food relief to Ugandans trapped by the ongoing fighting in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum.  

Uganda’s envoy in Khartoum, Dr Rashid Yahya Ssemuddu, told this publication on Thursday that with people unable to move out of their hiding places in search of food, the embassy is intervening.

“We are trying to identify delivery companies which can deliver food to homes because any movement in town comes at a very high risk. The supermarkets are still closed but we believe when we succeed with delivery companies, we shall share their contacts with all our citizens through social media,” he said.  

The relief will include foodstuffs, water and other essential necessities, he said.  
On Wednesday, Monitor reported appeals for help from some of the 300 Ugandan nationals caught up in the fighting who said they were running out of food and water. 

Mr Ratib Baiga, the chairperson of the Ugandan Workers in Sudan, who lives in Khata-Bahare in Northern Khartoum said: “It is very challenging, we don’t have clean water to drink and cook.”

Mr Yusufu Mukholi, the chairperson of Ugandan students in Sudan also said the food stores in the International University of Khartoum where they are trapped are running dry. 

The university is located a few kilometres away from Uganda’s embassy, making it just a 20-minute drive away. But the constant fighting has made movement extremely risky. 
Majority of trapped Ugandans, according to Mr Baiga, live in the three areas of Khartoum, Bahri and Omdurman which are between seven and 10 kilometres away from the embassy. 

Dr Ssemuddu said they are looking “for any company that can deliver foodstuffs to different locations during this period”.  

This aid he, however, said, will exclude the 19 Muslim pilgrims who were on their way to Saudi Arabia. 

“Tarco Air is taking care of them and we are monitoring them closely. I have not received any complaint till now since they checked into the new hotel (Omdurman on Al-Fatihab Street in South Siraj Station, Khartoum),” he said.

Since last Saturday, troops loyal to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan have been locked in deadly battles with the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) commanded by his deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo. Both sides have ignored appeals from regional bodies and the wider international community for an immediate ceasefire. 

Up to 12 national parliaments under their umbrella body, Forum of Parliaments of the Member-States of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (FP-ICGLR) condemned the escalating violence, which is seriously threatening to destabilise the whole of Sudan. 

“We note with concern that the violence has continued to spread to different parts of Sudan, claiming lives of innocent civilians and exacerbating an already dire humanitarian situation in the country,” Mr Onyango Kakoba, secretary general of FP-ICGLR, said in a press statement.  
Mr Kakoba said the forum remains concerned that if the conflict persists and becomes a full-fledged civil war, it could disrupt progress made towards restoring civilian rule in Sudan. 

He added: “We, therefore, call upon the conflicting parties to cease fire and return to the negotiating table to resolve their differences peacefully in the interest of the Sudanese people.” 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week said: “The Generals must ensure protection of civilians and non-combatants, as well as people from third countries. There is need for an immediate ceasefire and a return to talks.” 

Mr James Cleverly, the UK foreign secretary, also called for an immediate cessation of violence, and a return to the talks which were geared towards re-establishing a civilian government.

“We will continue working both with our close friends in the USA, Africa, and the wider Arab world to bring about that move towards a peace and a civilian democracy,” Mr Cleverly said.