Khartoum [Sudan]: A European Union ambassador was assaulted by the members of the Rapid Support Forces paramilitary group inside his residence in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan on Monday afternoon, two Western officials said, according to a New York Times report.
The EU’s ambassador to Sudan, Aidan O’Hara, is a diplomat from Ireland, and was not injured after armed men barged in, threatened him at gunpoint and stole money, said the officials on the condition of anonymity for security reasons, reported New York Times. The officials added that the assailants were identified by their uniforms and because the group were controlling the nearby streets.
In a text message, a spokeswoman for the European Union said that O’Hara was doing “fine.” She, however, did not provide more details.
The assault is a sign of how Sudan’s security situation had deteriorated. People were hiding inside their homes around the nation out of concern for their safety. It appeared to not stop with O’Hara. The gunmen were forcing UN staff members out of their houses in Khartoum, according to UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, reported New York Times.
EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borell Fontelles, tweeted, “A few hours ago, the EU Ambassador in Sudan was assaulted in his own residency. The assault constitutes a gross violation of the Vienna Convention.”
“Security of diplomatic premises and staff is a primary responsibility of Sudanese authorities and an obligation under international law,” he added.
John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said US Embassy officials in Sudan were hunkered down at their official residences amid the escalating violence.
“All US government personnel are accounted for,” he added, reported New York Times.
As many as 180 civilians have been killed while more than 1,800 civilians and combatants have been injured in fighting between Sudan’s military and the country’s main paramilitary force, according to the United Nations envoy to Sudan, Volker Perthes, The New York Times reported.
According to NYT, the fighting has left many of the five million residents of the capital, Khartoum, stranded at home without electricity or water as they marked the last few days of Ramzan, the Muslim holy month when many fast daily from dawn until dusk.
Overwhelmed medical facilities have been targeted including a major medical centre northeast of Khartoum that was shelled, evacuated and shut down. More than a dozen hospitals have shuttered, according to NYT.
Earlier, on Saturday, clashes were reported between rival factions of armed forces in various parts of Khartoum, reported New York Times.
The Sudanese military, after 18 months of its coup, had promised to cede control to a civilian-led government this month. Yet, the process has been dominated by a rivalry between General al-Burhan and General Hamdan, also known as Hemeti.
The two generals have been openly criticising one another in speeches over the past few months, and they have dispatched reinforcements and armoured vehicles to oppose military camps spread around the city.