The conflict in Sudan could deteriorate into one of the worst civil wars in the world if not stopped early, the North African nation’s former Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said.
“God forbid if Sudan is to reach a point of civil war,” he said in a conversation with philanthropist Mo Ibrahim Saturday at an event in Nairobi. The conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Libya would seem small by comparison, Hamdok said.
Sudan is a huge, diverse country with various ethnic and religious groups, and a full-scale war “would be a nightmare for the world,” he said.
Hamdok spoke as fighting in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, continued despite cease-fire pledges from both the army led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the rival Rapid Support Forces paramilitary group, under Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.
The ex-prime minister, who was seen as key in the push to return Sudan to democratic governance, has largely kept a low profile since he quit in January 2022. His departure marked the failure of an effort to bring the military under civilian control after the overthrow of dictator Omar al-Bashir.
The death toll in the current conflict has climbed to more than 500 as the fighting entered it’s third week. The United Nations’s refugee agency said about 33,000 people have fled south from Khartoum to camps in White Nile state, while more than 10,000 have crossed into South Sudan with tens of thousands more entering into Chad, the Central African Republic and Egypt.
The engagement that enabled the evacuation of people from Sudan is positive, but the same approach of sustained pressure on the generals needs to continue, Hamdok said.
The UK, which has evacuated hundreds of its citizens from Sudan, sees a “unanimity of will” in pushing for a longstanding cease-fire, where soldiers return to the barracks and political space reopens, UK International Development Minister Andrew Mitchell told journalists in Nairobi.
“This is going to be a calamity unless we get the fighting to stop,” he said.