Britain sanctions three businesses suspected of funding groups in Sudan’s war

A damaged army tank is seen on the street, almost one year into the war between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), in Omdurman, Sudan
A damaged army tank seen on the street in in Omdurman, almost one year into the war between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces - El Tayeb Siddig/REUTERS

Britain has sanctioned three businesses said to be funding groups in Sudan’s catastrophic war, as a crisis summit heard it was becoming one of the worst humanitarian disasters in decades.

Envoys on Monday met in Paris to try to raise $1bn (£0.8bn) in aid to stop the African nation tipping into famine and mass death after a year of fighting.

The United Nations says war has forced nearly 11 million from their homes and sent two million refugees into neighbouring countries.

Food supplies and aid cannot cross front lines and much of the country’s agricultural land is out of use.

As famine looms, worst-case scenarios modelled by Western experts and diplomats predict the death toll could hit thousands per day within months, the Telegraph understands.

Some 25 million in the region are unable to feed themselves properly, with at least five million on the cusp of famine.

War erupted a year ago from a long-simmering rivalry between the de-facto president, Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and his deputy, Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagaloa, known as Hemedti.

Members of the Sudanese Armed Forces gather on the street, almost one year into the war between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces
The fighting has turned much of the country into a war zone - El Tayeb Siddig/REUTERS

Fighting between the army and Hemdeti’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia has turned much of the country of nearly 50 million into a war zone.

Britain said Alkhaleej Bank, Al-Fakher Advanced Works and Red Rock Mining would be subject to an asset freeze, limiting their financial freedom.

Alkhaleej Bank is accused of being key to the RSF financing its operations, while the militia allegedly uses Al-Fakher Advanced Works to export gold.

Red Rock Mining is accused of providing funds to the Sudanese Army.

David Cameron, Foreign Secretary, said: “The businesses that support the warring parties must be held to account, alongside those responsible for human rights abuses.

“The world must not forget about Sudan. We urgently need to end the violence.”

Envoys met in Paris to try to raise $1bn (£0.8bn) in aid to stop the African nation tipping into famine
Envoys met in Paris to try to raise $1bn (£0.8bn) in aid to stop the African nation tipping into famine - BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images

Sudanese groups and envoys to the country complain that it has become a “forgotten conflict” as the world’s attention is fixed on wars in Ukraine and Gaza.

The United Nations has this year asked for $2.7bn (£2.2bn) to get food, health care and other supplies to 24 million people in Sudan. Donors have so far given less than five per cent.

António Guterres, UN Secretary General, said the nation was trapped in the “nightmare of bloodshed”.

“We cannot let this nightmare slide from view,” he told the conference.

“It’s time to support the Sudanese people. It’s time to silence the guns,” he added.

After a year of war, Sudan descended into what has been called a “blood soaked playground” for regional powers backing different factions and fighting proxy wars.

Russia, Iran, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, the Saudis and even Ukraine are all backing sides.

Stephane Sejourne, French foreign minister, said the Paris conference aimed to mobilize funding to help Sudanese victims of both a “terrible war” and “international indifference.”

“It’s a colossal task,” she said. “It’s a war the Sudanese people did not want, a war that only produces chaos and suffering.”

Annalena Baerbock, Germany’s foreign minister, said in the worst case, one million could die of hunger this year.

She said: “We can manage together to avoid a terrible famine catastrophe, but only if we get active together now.”

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