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UN: Conflict in Sudan Displaces 3.1 Million

FILE - An internally displaced child stands outside a tent pitched at the Hasahisa secondary school on July 10, 2023, which has been made into a make-shift camp to house those fleeing violence in war-torn Sudan.

CAIRO — A raging conflict in Sudan has driven around 3.1 million people from their homes, including more than 700,000 who fled to neighboring countries, the United Nations said Wednesday, amid growing concerns that the country is sliding into a “full-scale civil war.”

The U.N. said Wednesday that more than 72% of those displaced were from the capital Khartoum and around 9% from West Darfur province where the clashes between the military and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces have been largely centered.

Sudan has plunged into chaos since mid-April when monthslong tensions between the military and the RSF exploded into open fighting. The conflict has turned Khartoum and other urban areas into battlefields.

The clashes have killed more than 3,000 people and wounded more than 6,000 others, Health Minister Haitham Mohammed Ibrahim said in televised comments last month. The casualty tally is likely much higher, according to doctors and activists.

More than 2.4 million people have fled their homes to safer areas inside the country, according to the International Organization for Migration, IOM. Around 738,000 others crossed into neighboring countries, the agency said.

Egypt is hosting the largest number of those who fled — more than 255,500 people — followed by Chad with more than 238,000 and South Sudan with around 160,800, the IOM said. More than 62,000 people fled to Ethiopia, more than 16,700 to the Central African Republic and around 3,000 to Libya, it added.

The IOM said that 65% of those who fled into neighboring countries were Sudanese nationals and the rest were foreigners and refugees who were forced to return to their home countries.

International and regional efforts have so far failed to establish a negotiated cease-fire and allow humanitarian agencies to provide support to civilians still trapped in the conflict. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres warned over the weekend that the country was on the brink of a “ full-scale civil war."

Earlier this week, a regional meeting floated the idea of deploying troops to Sudan to protect civilians. The Quartet Group, which met Monday in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, called for a summit of the Eastern Africa Standby Force, a 10-member regional bloc, to consider the proposal.

Egypt, meanwhile, is hosting a meeting on Thursday with Sudan’s neighbors aimed at establishing “effective mechanisms” to help find a peaceful settlement to the conflict, according to the Egyptian presidency.