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Igad: Sudan leaves regional bloc over attempt to end war


Sudan is suspending its membership of north-east African bloc Igad over an attempt to mediate the brutal conflict in the country.

Igad has been trying to end the nine month-long war between Sudan’s army and rival paramilitary group the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

On Thursday Sudan’s government criticised Igad for inviting the RSF’s chief to a summit.

Khartoum now says a statement released by Igad was offensive to Sudan.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) was founded in 1996 and is made up of eight states – Kenya, Uganda, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea Sudan and Somalia.

Its current vision is to transform north-east Africa into a upper middle-income economy and a “continental beacon of regional peace, stability, and security by 2050”.

Igad was heavily involved in the 2005 peace process that ended a separate 22-year war in Sudan and the bloc also oversaw the installation of a transitional government in 2004, during a Somali civil war. Igad’s military forces were also a precursor to African Union mission currently tackling Somalia’s insecurity.

On Thursday, leaders of Igad’s member countries met in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, for a summit.

Sudan’s military-led government refused to attend after learning that the RSF boss Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo was invited.

Fighting broke out last April after a row between Gen Dagalo and Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan’s army.

Since then the army has struggled to control large parts of the country, losing much of the capital Khartoum and the western Darfur region to the RSF.

At this week’s summit, Igad’s leaders mainly discussed the Sudan’s civil war and current tensions between Somalia and Ethiopia over a port deal.

According to French news agency AFP, Igad on Thursday reiterated its call for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire” in Sudan.

In a final statement after the summit closed, Igad also said Sudan’s army, led by Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the RSF must have a face-to-face meeting within two weeks, AFP reported.

Sudan’s foreign ministry released a statement on Thursday saying it would halt its engagement with Igad.

On Saturday the ministry went further, saying it was suspending its membership of Igad due to the bloc’s final statement, reports said.

According to the United Nations, the war has forced more than seven million people have been forced to flee their homes safer locations inside and outside Sudan.

Hundreds of civilians were airlifted out of Sudan at the onset of the war as fighting reached residential areas.

The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, an analyst group, puts the death toll at more than 13,000.

Since late December, Gen Daglo has toured several African countries, such as Ethiopia, Kenya and South Africa, holding meetings with heads of state.

It is part of a strategy analysts see as a bid for international legitimacy.

Source: BBC

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