Network outage cuts communications for millions in war-torn Sudan Conflict news

All three major internet service providers in Sudan are offline as the United Nations appeals for aid funds.

The Internet Observatory NetBlox said that the three main Internet operators in Sudan stopped working on Wednesday, cutting off communications for millions of people stuck in conflict areas or fleeing for their safety.

Network outages could also freeze the e-wallets that many people rely on amid widespread cash shortages.

A source from the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces denied responsibility, and the companies did not publicly blame anyone for the power outage, Reuters news agency reported.

Two of the networks have been out of service since Friday, when sources in communications and the military-allied government news agency said the Rapid Support Forces shut down the networks of MTN Sudan and Sudani. Zain Sudan is now offline, NetBlocks said.

Aid agencies have warned of increasing hunger in Sudan and famine-like conditions in some areas, as a result of the nine-month-long war between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

The United Nations on Wednesday urged countries not to forget civilians caught up in the war. Appeal for $4.1 billion To meet their humanitarian needs and support those who have fled to neighboring countries.

Half of Sudan’s population – about 25 million people – need humanitarian assistance and protection, while more than 1.5 million people have fled to the Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia and South Sudan, according to the United Nations.

In launching its joint appeal with UNHCR, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) called for $2.7 billion in funding to provide humanitarian assistance to 14.7 million people.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees requested $1.4 billion to support nearly 2.7 million people in five countries neighboring Sudan as part of the appeal.

OCHA’s appeal last year to provide assistance to civilians in Sudan was less than half funded.

Aid talks?

Later on Wednesday, the UN humanitarian aid coordinator said that Sudan’s warring parties had agreed to meet in UN-brokered talks on enabling aid delivery.

Martin Griffiths told reporters in Geneva, Switzerland, that he had been in contact with the presidents of both sides of the war about convening “authorized representatives from the two armies” to discuss the arrival of aid.

He said he wanted to “get them to follow through on the commitments of the so-called Jeddah Declaration,” which the two sides signed last May, agreeing to spare civilians and civilian infrastructure and allow much-needed aid to enter.

Griffiths warned that the lack of access remains “very significant”. While Saudi Arabia and the United States organized the Jeddah conference, Griffiths said, “This time the United Nations will be the mediator.”

“I received positive responses from both sides,” he said, adding that he was “still awaiting confirmation on when and where,” but Switzerland had been suggested as a location.

He said he hoped the meeting would be held “face-to-face”, but said plans were underway to organize a virtual call next week “as a first step”.

Griffiths said the international community needs to act with an increased sense of urgency.

“We must not forget Sudan,” he said. “This is the simple message I have to say today.”

(Tags for translation) News

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