Doha News has joined Qatari forces on a mission to deliver aid to the conflict-stricken country.
Port Sudan, Sudan– The first Qatari aid flight to Sudan landed in Port Sudan on Friday evening, delivering tonnes of aid for humanitarian assistance as fighting between the military and paramilitary forces continued to rage on.
The Amiri air force aircraft took off from Al Udeid Air Base in the Gulf state carrying more than 50 tonnes of aid, marking the first of at least six other essential deliveries expected to be sent as part of an air bridge to Sudan.
Friday’s delivery contained some 50 tonnes of food supplies provided by Qatar Charity, Qatar Red Crescent Society and the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD).
Speaking to Doha News at the military base in Qatar, Sudan’s ambassador to the Gulf state Abd Al Rahim Al Siddig Mohammed noted that the aid delivery is a “positive step”.
“The aid is highly important given that the people of Sudan are going through a difficult period in time, especially under the rebellion that the Rapid Support Forces are causing in Khartoum that has led to displacements,” the Sudanese envoy said.
On the ground in Sudan, the violent conflict has continued to rage on between the Sudanese army, headed by General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary unit led by former militia leader General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, widely known as Hemedti.
On Thursday, US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said the fighting is likely to continue as neither party has an incentive to stop.
“The fighting in Sudan between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) is, we assess, likely to be protracted as both sides believe that they can win militarily and have few incentives to come to the negotiating table,” Haines told a US Senate hearing on Thursday.
“Both sides are seeking external sources of support, which, if successful, is likely to intensify the conflict and create a greater potential for spillover challenges in the region,” she said.
Heavy fighting around the presidential palace on Thursday signalled a break in a ceasefire that was initially scheduled to last for seven days.
Flights at the Khartoum International Airport have been grounded since the fighting broke out mid April and the facility is currently out of operations. So far, at least 550 have been killed as civilians face the brunt of the violence.
Shelling and crossfire between the conflicting parties has forced thousands of civilians to flee for safety, many of whom have headed for the borders in a desperate bid to flee the country. Global efforts have shifted away from the capital and set up evacuation operations in Port Sudan.
Haines warned the escalating violence is “raising the spectre of massive refugee flows and aid needs in the region”.
On 23 April, Qatar’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Majed Al Ansari confirmed all Qatar citizens were evacuated with the help of Saudi Arabia.
Last week, a source informed Qatari newspaper Al Sharq that the Gulf state’s embassy in Khartoum is currently working on evacuating Qatar’s residents and those from the Gulf Cooperation Council from Port Sudan through Jeddah.
Doha News has joined Qatari forces on the mission to deliver aid to Sudan.
More updates to follow.