Belgian EU official shot in Sudan

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Wim Fransen, the head of the EU’s humanitarian agency in Sudan, was shot amid fighting in the country’s capital Khartoum on Tuesday, a European Commission spokesperson said.

The spokesperson confirmed Fransen was injured but declined to offer any details on the incident or on his current condition citing “security reasons.”

The New York Times reported late Tuesday that Fransen, a Belgian, had been seriously wounded by a gunshot and was receiving medical attention, but that his life was not in danger, quoting four people familiar with the situation.

Fransen, who is the head of the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) office in Sudan, is the second EU official to be hurt in violence between rival military factions which erupted in Khartoum over the weekend.

On Monday, Aidan O’Hara, the EU’s envoy to Sudan, was “assaulted” in his home. According to a spokesperson from the EU’s diplomatic service, O’Hara was “OK” and “continuing his duties” after the incident.

A Commission spokesperson told a media briefing Wednesday that the ambassador will soon address the delegation’s staff.

Josep Borrell, the EU’s top diplomat, and Micheál Martin, the Irish foreign minister, both pointed out a “gross violation of the Vienna Convention” on the security of diplomatic staff and called for an end to the violence.

The situation on the ground remains difficult for foreign diplomats. On Wednesday, Jussi Tanner, the head of the Finnish foreign ministry’s consular services, told public broadcaster Yle it was “practically impossible to leave the country at the moment.”

The EU delegation’s staff in Sudan has not yet been evacuated but “security measures are being assessed as we speak,” the Commission spokesperson told reporters.

According to the World Health Organization, citing the Sudanese health ministry, at least 270 people have been killed — including three workers from the U.N.’s World Food Programme — and more than 2,600 injured in fighting between rival army factions since last weekend.

Units loyal to General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of Sudan’s transitional governing Sovereign Council, are opposed to the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, led by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti.

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