UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres addresses the media during a visit to the UN office in the capital Nairobi, Kenya, May 3, 2023. (PHOTO / AP)
UNITED NATIONS/KHARTOUM – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the looting of the main compound of the World Food Programme (WFP) in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, over the weekend, a UN spokesman said on Monday.
"The secretary-general reiterates the need for parties to protect and respect humanitarian workers and facilities, including hospitals," Farhan Haq, deputy spokesperson for Guterres, said in a statement.
"Civilians and civilian infrastructure must be protected in order to save lives," he added.
In the statement, Haq noted that the looting of the WFP compound was the latest violation of humanitarian facilities since the start of the crisis in Sudan, which is in its fourth week.
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Most, if not all, UN agencies and its humanitarian partners have been impacted by large-scale looting, said Haq.
No major progress made
Armed clashes still raged in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum on Monday as negotiations between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Supportive Forces (RSF) have so far yielded no major progress.
Meanwhile, an anonymous Saudi Arabian diplomat told media on Monday that as the dialogue between the two warring parties in Jeddah entered its third day, no significant progress has been made, noting, "The topic of a permanent ceasefire is not on the table"
The situation in Sudan is stable in all states except for the capital Khartoum, SAF Commander Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan told Egypt's Al Qahera News in a phone interview on Monday.
"We can discuss a settlement after we reach a permanent ceasefire in Khartoum," Burhan was quoted as saying, warning that war could spread to the rest of Sudan if a division happens in Khartoum.
"Our forces clashed with a group of the rebel militia in Bahri (Khartoum North) and destroyed four armed vehicles, while the enemy fled," the SAF said in a statement on Monday.
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Gunfires and shellings can still be heard in Khartoum early in the morning. Fighter jets of the armed forces flew above the city and the RSF fired anti-aircraft guns in response, according to a Xinhua correspondent at Khartoum.
The SAF accused the RSF fighters of robbing banks and shops, as well as storming citizens' houses and looting their properties in the residential neighborhoods where the RSF fighters are stationed.
A photo taken on May 7, 2023 shows the broken glass of a car showroom in southern Khartoum after a looting attempt as fighting continued. (PHOTO / AFP)
The SAF warned citizens to keep away from the clash areas and avoid approaching any unknown metal objects until the technical crews arrive to deal with them.
Meanwhile, an anonymous Saudi Arabian diplomat told media on Monday that as the dialogue between the two warring parties in Jeddah entered its third day, no significant progress has been made, noting, "The topic of a permanent ceasefire is not on the table."
READ MORE: Sudan paramilitary RSF to attend Jeddah talks with army
Since the conflict began, the war-torn areas in Khartoum have been cut off from electricity, water supply, and communication. People who had to hunker down in their houses are in dire shortages of basic living necessities and medical services.
Sudan has been witnessing deadly armed clashes between the SAF and the RSF in the capital city of Khartoum and other areas since April 15, with the two sides accusing each other of initiating the conflict.
According to UN statistics, thousands of Sudanese citizens have been displaced or forced to seek refuge in safe areas in Sudan or neighboring countries.
According to the latest number of casualties provided by Sudan's health ministry in early May, the conflict killed at least 550, and injured another 4,926 people.