South Sudan’s Kiir Cancels Khartoum Visit as Fighting Continues

  • by Rodney Mponye
  • April 18, 2023

South Sudan President Salva Kiir has cancelled his planned visit to Khartoum due to ongoing fighting in the Sudanese capital, his adviser on security affairs said.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional bloc, agreed to send leaders from Kenya, South Sudan, and Djibouti to Khartoum, but the fighting has continued despite calls to cease hostilities.

“His Excellency the President of the Republic of South Sudan, General Salva Kiir Mayardit, and the Presidents of Kenya and Djibouti could not travel to Khartoum as per the resolution of the IGAD heads of state and government due to the security situation there,” said Tut Gatluak.

The presidential aide said that the South Sudanese and Egyptian presidents were now talking to Sudanese leaders and actors to urge a cessation of hostilities and use wisdom and peaceful dialogue to resolve the situation.

According to Gatluak, a cessation of hostilities was urgently needed.

Diplomatic efforts to resolve political and security negotiations over reforms and unification of the forces have been frustrated, while observers warn that any political compromise that materialises is likely to be tenuous.

The UK, US, and EU have called for a ceasefire and talks to resolve the crisis.

The United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guteres on Monday urged the two leaders to cease military hostilities and pursue dialogue. Similar calls also emerged from the African Union.

Armed clashes between Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), an independent military force, erupted on the morning of April 15, 2023, in heavily populated parts of the capital, Khartoum, and spread to other cities including in Darfur region.

The clashes follow weeks of rising tensions between the two forces over security force reform during negotiations for a new transitional government and was preceded by the SAF and RSF jointly overthrowing Sudan’s transitional government in October 2021.

More than 180 people have been killed and about 1,800 injured in the three days of fighting in Sudan, the UN said.