Escalating conflict has erupted in Sudan, where rival military factions are fighting for control. Fighting started in the latter half of April, when the army and a paramilitary group, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), engaged in a power struggle. The army and the paramilitary group were allies during the coup in 2021 in Sudan. The fighting is occuring in the capital of Khartoum, with thousands injured, and hundreds of civilians killed.
War is horrific in its effects – as citizens flee Sudan, food security and safety are impacted. Experts say that arms and human trafficking will follow if the Sudanese conflict continues. Director of the Geneva Centre for Africa Security and Strategic studies, David Otto, says “[On] the same route that people are fleeing, what we may see in the nearest future if the fighting continues or spreads across, we’ll see weapons being trafficked, human trafficking happening and increasing volatility in the region.”
Neighboring countries, Chad, Egypt, Eritrea, and Ethiopia, are seeing a mass exodus of refugees who are fleeing conflict. Today, 10,000-20,000 refugees arrived in Chad and around 6,000 in Ethiopia. Experts say that these numbers are just but an estimate, and the numbers may be much more. In Egypt, refugees are facing harsh and unwelcome conditions. Egyptian authorities are ill-prepared. The Guardian reports, “Terrified refugees found little welcome on the border with Egypt, where just a few local police officers had been dispatched to process thousands of exhausted people.” In Egypt, refugees, especially Black immigrants, are marginalized and demeaned. Human Rights Watch reported in 2022 that Egyptian security forces arbitrarily detained 30 Sudanese refugees and asylum seekers and subjected them to forced labor and beatings after the refugees organized protests outside the UNHCR offices in Cairo. They were protesting Egyptian racism. The plight of refugees is not just leaving violence, but carrying trauma, experiencing racism in unwelcoming lands, and little to no institutional support. The Sudanese conflict will create more refugees, and neighboring countries must prepare themselves with open borders to facilitate peaceful crossing.
To help the people of Sudan, you can donate to any trusted organization. Food aid and health aid can help the refugees fleeing violence, and international organizations are able to provide support to civilians.