Drowning in corruption, Sudan is a real disaster
Sudan is, according to the UN, in a humanitarian situation close to “the breaking point”. The World Health Organization speaks of a “state of disaster”. The truces in the fighting between the army and the paramilitaries are repeatedly broken. As thousands of dead and injured are reported, UN offices and warehouses storing medicines and other health products are massively looted.
The disaster engulfs its 45 million inhabitants, a third of whom were already suffering from hunger before the start of the civil war. Yet it is a country with significant oil resources. But drowned in corruption. Transparency International ranks Sudan 162nd out of 180 countries in its 2022 corruption index.
Two generals and a cake
Generals Burhane and Daglo (also called Hemedti), in charge of the country since their 2021 putsch, no longer want to share the cake. They had formed a common front to oust the civilians with whom they shared power. They don't agree either on the subject of the integration of FSR paramilitaries into the armed forces.
- Listen to Normand Lester's column at the microphone of Richard Martineau, available as a podcast on QUB radio:
At the head of his Janjawid militiamen – who became the FSR, the paramilitary auxiliaries in rebellion – General Daglo had carried out a bloody and devastating repression in Darfur on the orders of General Omar Al-Béchir overthrown in 2019. The interminable inter-ethnic war in Darfur had caused 300,000 deaths, and nearly 2.5 million displaced people are in the process of starting again.
To further complicate the situation, the Russian mercenary group Wagner supports the paramilitaries who also enjoy the support of the Arab Emirates United. Wagner's Russians are already active in neighboring Chad.
Sudan. Hello sadness
I went to report in Sudan with a Radio-Canada team in the mid-1980s when an armed conflict pitted the Muslim north of the country against the predominantly animist and Christian south. The images I see on TV distress me. Everything is therefore always to start over in this amalgam of ethnic groups, cultures and religions.
From Khartoum we went to the south of the country where the second civil war which was beginning would not end until 2005. I have fond memories of the two courageous and devoted Quebec missionaries whom we had met there.
After further armed clashes, South Sudan finally gained independence in 2011. Still torn by conflict (more than 60 ethnic groups), ravaged by climate change, it is one of the poorest countries in the planet even though it has significant oil resources.
The Arab League met yesterday in Cairo on Sudan. Who will send a “peace mission” to Sudan: The UN, the Arab League or the African Union? If there is peace, unfortunately it will not last long. Think Haiti.
To help Canadians caught up in the fighting in Khartoum, Canada deployed troops to Port Sudan on the Red Sea some 700 km away. Better than nothing.