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Sudan's Burhan Completes Fourth Diplomatic Trip

FILE — Sudan's army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan meets Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki in Khartoum, May 4, 2021.

WAD MADANI — Sudanese authorities Monday said army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan completed his fourth trip abroad in two weeks after visiting neighboring Eritrea for talks with President Isaias Afwerki.

Gen. Burhan arrived in Port Sudan Monday after two weeks of diplomatic visits to Egypt, South Sudan, Qatar and recently Eritrea — amid ongoing conflict with the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, RSF.

Experts say his recent travels aim to burnish his credentials in the event of talks to end the conflict that has killed nearly 7,500 people, according to a conservative estimate from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project.

Figures released by the United Nations show that the Sudan's conflict has uprooted over five million people, including one million who fled across borders in pursuit of refuge.

A statement released by Sudan's ruling Transitional Sovereignty Council said Burhan's recent trip "affirmed Eritrea’s support for Sudan and its territorial integrity."

Eritrea's Information Minister Yemane Meskel said on X, formerly Twitter, that Afwerki had "reiterated Eritrea's views on transition to safety," and published a picture of the president seated beside Burhan.

Eritrea, which borders Sudan to the southeast, has refrained, unlike other neighbors, from welcoming any of the more than one million refugees fleeing the war, with the borders closed since 2019.

In early September Burhan announced Kassala, a Sudanese state bordering Eritrea, was reopening its borders, signaling strengthening security along what has been known as a porous border.

Afwerki participated in a meeting held in Egypt's capital, Cairo, in mid-July, with the heads of state of Sudan's neighboring nations, who condemned "a war launched for no reason."

Sudanese activists say one of the deadliest attacks recorded during the conflict between Sudan's rival forces witnessed an airstrike that killed at least 46 people and wounded dozens at a market in the southern region of the capital, Khartoum.

On Sunday the RSF accused the military of the "air strikes against civilians in the south of Khartoum " — allegations denied by the army, which said it "fully adheres to international humanitarian law."

On Monday, the Mayo neighborhood resistance committee announced it was going to bury "12 unidentified bodies" after the "massacre of the Qouro market."

The resistance committee used to organize pro-democracy protests but has since shifted focus to aiding during the conflict.