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Sudan’s top general heads to South Sudan for talks with its president on the war

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Sudan’s top military general is headed to South Sudan to talk to its president on his second trip abroad since the war in his country started in April

CAIRO -- Sudan’s top military general is headed to South Sudan to talk with its president on his second trip abroad since the war in his country started earlier this year.

Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, chairman of the ruling Sovereign Council, will discuss the coNFLict in Sudan with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, according to a statement from the council.

In April, simmering tensions between the military, led by Burhan, and the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, commanded by Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, exploded into open fighting in the capital and elsewhere.

The fighting has has reduced Khartoum to an urban battlefield, with neither side managing to gain control of the city. The Military command, where Burhan has purportedly been stationed since April, has been one of the epicenters of the coNFLict.

In the western Darfur region -- the scene of genocidal campaign in the early 2000s -- the coNFLict has morphed into ethnic violence, with the RSF and allied Arab militias attacking ethnic African groups, according to rights groups and the United Nations.

The conflict is estimated to have killed at least 4,000 people, according to the U.N. human rights office, though activists and doctors on the ground say the toll is likely far higher.

More than 4.8 million people have been displaced, according to the U.N. migration agency. Those include over 3.8 million who fled to safer areas inside Sudan and more than 1 million others who crossed into neighboring countries.

In his trip to Juba, Burhan is accompanied by acting Foreign Minister Ali al-Sadiq and Gen. Ahmed Ibrahim Mufadel, head of the General Intelligence Authority, and other Military officers, according to the Sovereign Council.

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011 after a long conflict.

Early in the ongoing war in Sudan, South Sudan’s Kiir attempted to mediate between the warring generals, as part of an initiative by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, an eight-member regional block that includes Sudan.

The Sudanese leader met with President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt last week in the Egyptian coastal city of el-Alamein. It was his first trip abroad since the war. Both Egypt and South Sudan are neighbors to Sudan.

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