Sudan says it suspends contact with IGAD mediation group

Credit: REUTERS/EL TAYEB SIDDIG

Adds details and background in paragraphs 2-5

CAIRO, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Sudan has suspended its involvement in mediation efforts with IGAD, a group of East African nations that has sought to broker talks between the army and the paramilitary force it has been fighting for months, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

IGAD had offered to mediate between the heads of the Sudanese army and the Rapid Forces (RSF), including hosting a meeting - to which both men had agreed.

The foreign ministry said in a statement that dealings with IGAD were suspended after the regional group added Sudan to the agenda of a meeting scheduled for Jan. 18 in Kampala, Uganda, and invited RSF leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, to attend.

Hemedti recently emerged from months under cover to visit several African countries and meet Sudanese pro-democracy political figures.

The war in Sudan erupted in mid-April over a plan for a political transition away from military rule. It has caused a major humanitarian crisis, devastated the capital Khartoum, and sparked waves of ethnically driven killings in Darfur.

(Reporting by Nafisa Eltahir; Writing by Tala Ramadan; Editing by Nadine Awadalla, Kevin Liffey and Alison Williams)

((Tala.Ramadan@thomsonreuters.com;))

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