UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condemned clashes in Sudan that have left dozens of civilians dead including three workers for the global body's food agency, demanding swift justice over the killings.
Guterres "strongly condemns the deaths and injuries of civilians, including the death of three staff members of the World Food Programme in North Darfur, with a further two seriously injured," the UN chief's spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a statement, adding: "Those responsible should be brought to justice without delay."
The top UN official also reiterated his call for an immediate halt to the fighting and "a return to dialogue," stressing he remains engaged with regional leaders and with Sudanese stakeholders "to find a way out of this crisis," Dujarric added.
"The Secretary-General reminds the parties of the need to respect international law, including the obligation to ensure the safety and security of all United Nations and associated personnel, their premises and their assets."
According to international media reports, the UN Security Council is planning to discuss the situation in Sudan at a closed-door meeting on Monday.
Raging urban battles over two days between the Sudanese Armed Forces and a rival paramilitary, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), have left at least 56 civilians dead and sparked regional concern, with neighbors Egypt and Chad closing their borders with Sudan.
Fighting continued after nightfall on Sunday, as Sudanese hunkered down in their homes with fears of a prolonged conflict that could plunge the country into deeper chaos, dashing long-held hopes for a transition to civilian-led democracy.
Violence erupted early Saturday following weeks of power struggles between army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo who heads the heavily armed RSF.
The pro-democracy Central Committee of Sudan Doctors reported 56 civilians killed as well as "tens of deaths" among security forces, and around 600 wounded.