The Catholic Bishops of Sudan and South Sudan (SCBC) are pleading for an end to the horrific war tearing apart Sudan.

“The fabric of Sudanese society has been torn apart, with people shocked, traumatised, and disbelieving about the level of violence and hatred.”

Yet, there appears to be no end in sight of the escalating conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

No end in sight

IGeneral Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of the Sudanese Armed Forces, has resolutely closed the door to dialogue to end the civil war.

“We are continuing in this battle until victory, and I repeat once again that we will not negotiate with an enemy who attacks us and occupies our lands,” said General Al-Burhan as he visited his troops in areas surrounding the capital Khartoum that his army has seized.

The Sudanese capital has been the epicentre of fierce fighting between the SAF and the RSF for over a year.

Al-Burhan has often reiterated his refusal to bow to international pressure and sit at a negotiation table in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

According to Fides News Agency, he claims that “we will not go to a negotiating table where they (the mediators) want to drag us by our ears, and we will not go to negotiations while the enemy still occupies our homes and plunders our wealth. We will not go to negotiations before the enemy leaves, and they (the mediators) must force them to do so if they want us to negotiate with them.”

Humanitarian toll

The humanitarian toll of the conflict is staggering. The RSF’s new territorial sieges have forced at least 55,000 people to flee Sinja, the capital of Sennar.

According to the United Nations, at least 10 million Sudanese have been displaced since the war began in April 2023 and they often find themselves trapped in areas that the two groups are fighting over.

This includes approximately 80 people who have sought refuge in the Catholic mission of Dar Mariam in the Khartoumian district of al-Shajara.

This area, located near an armed forces base, has been at the heart of intense fighting and the refugees taking shelter there are suffering dire conditions without sufficient access to clean water and food. Attempts to free them have been unsuccessful.

Selfish nature of war

Sudan’s bishops denounced the selfish interests driving the conflict at the conclusion of their meeting in June.

“This is not simply a war between two generals, as the military has inextricably embedded itself in the economic life of the country. Both SAF and RSF have networks of wealthy elite Sudanese and international individuals and cartels who benefit from their control of various economic sectors and are linked to external sponsors who continue to provide them with increasingly sophisticated weapons, such as drones.”