Abdelwahid appeals to belligerents to spare North Darfur capital

SLM-AW faction leader Abdelwahid Nur (File photo: SLM-AW)

The head of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-AW), Abdelwahid Nur, has launched an appeal aimed at addressing the dire humanitarian situation in North Darfur’s capital of El Fasher and its surroundings. This appeal, announced via social media yesterday, seeks to protect the city’s remaining infrastructure and requires the withdrawal of all warring parties from the area. The movement, acting as a neutral entity, plans to safeguard civilians and provide security and reassurance.

The proposal, reviewed by Radio Dabanga, mandates the exit of all combatants and their allies from the “militarily insignificant” city of El Fasher. The SLM-AW will then assume “responsibility for civilian protection and security, collaborating with other organisations” to mitigate the war’s impact., according to the statement. 

According to the SLM-AW head, he aims to transform El Fasher into a demilitarised zone, serving as a humanitarian and relief centre for Darfur, Kordofan, White Nile, and El Gezira, leveraging its geographical proximity and existing infrastructure.

Nur emphasised his commitment to national, humanitarian, and moral responsibilities. He presented this appeal to safeguard El Fasher’s people and infrastructure, and to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to other affected regions in Sudan. 

He urged all conflict parties to embrace this proposal unconditionally, prioritising national interest over personal and organisational agendas. He appealed to them to adhere to international humanitarian law and wartime ethics, prioritising the safety of Sudanese people.

The movement’s leader called on international entities, including the United Nations, European Union, United States, United Kingdom, African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), League of Arab States, regional neighbours, and all national parties, to support this appeal. He stressed the urgent need to address El Fasher’s humanitarian crisis, without distinguishing between other conflict-affected Sudanese regions.

Highlighting El Fasher’s strategic location on the outskirts of SLM-AW-controlled territories, Nur noted that the area has become a sanctuary for tens of thousands fleeing the war’s devastation. While the movement provides security and reassurance, the overwhelming food and medical needs surpass its capabilities.

Since early May, El Fasher is facing a relentless siege by the Rapid Support Forces, resulting in fierce battles involving the armed forces and various factions aligned with the army. This conflict has displaced thousands, who have sought refuge in SLM-AW-controlled areas in Central Darfur’s Jebel Marra.