Sudan extends airspace closure until Aug 15 due to conflict

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The Sudanese civil aviation authority extended the closure of Sudan’s airspace until Aug. 15, except for humanitarian aid and evacuation flights, Khartoum International Airport said in a statement early on Monday.

Sudanese airspace was closed to regular traffic after a military conflict erupted between the country’s army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in mid-April.

The removal of long-time authoritarian leader Omar al-Bashir in 2019 had initially sparked great optimism for a return to civilian rule in Sudan.

But, a military coup two years later dissolved the transitional civilian government, triggering political and economic turmoil and reigniting intercommunal conflicts.

An armed conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, rival factions of the military government of Sudan, began on 15 April 2023, with the fighting concentrated around the capital city of Khartoum and the Darfur region.

So far there have been 11 failed attempts at bringing an end to the conflict.

Sudan was the largest and one of the most geographically diverse states in Africa, until its split into two countries in 2011 after southern Sudan voted for independence.

This followed decades of struggle by the mainly Christian and Animist south against rule by the Arab Muslim north.

About 17.3 million people in Sudan lack adequate access to clean water, putting them at risk of disease.

Approximately 24 million people lack access to proper sanitation facilities. Hunger is a grave concern, with a third of the population already facing acute levels of food insecurity.