Senior EU official wounded as fighting continues in Khartoum

The head of the EU humanitarian mission in Sudan, Belgian Wim Fransen, has been injured by gunfire in Khartoum, the New York Times reported on Tuesday night, citing several sources. His injuries are said to be serious but not life-threatening.

Fransen went missing on Sunday evening as fighting intensified in the Sudanese capital. His colleagues at the EU mission in Khartoum went looking for him and found him on Tuesday.

Approximately 200 people have been killed since clashes broke out in Khartoum on Saturday between the Sudanese military and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Fighting was still raging on Tuesday night, despite reports of a temporary respite, and embassies have asked their staff to shelter from the violence.

On Monday, EU ambassador Aidan O'Hara, a diplomat from Ireland, was attacked at his residence by armed men who threatened him at gunpoint and stole money.

EU officials, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons, said the assailants were identified by their uniforms as belonging to the RSF, according to the New York Times. The RSF is made up primarily of former members of the Janjaweed militia, which gained notoriety in the war in Darfur, western Sudan.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called the attack 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 tweeted on Monday.

A US embassy convoy was also fired at in the Sudanese capital on Monday.

The belligerents failed to respect a three-hour ceasefire earlier on Sunday night, while a subsequent ceasefire suffered the same fate. On Tuesday, RSF accused the Sudanese army of violating the later ceasefire.


Women and a boy walk along a street in Khartoum on 18 April 2023 © PHOTO AFP

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