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Western Union shuts services in Sudan's Khartoum 'until further notice'

The international money transfer service said its agents were unable to operate safely and securely in the restive country.
A sign advertises the money transfer service Western Union on January 11, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. Much of the German financial services, consumer goods and foodstuffs economy is dominated by nationwide chains and brands. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Western Union has suspended international money transfer services in Sudan's capital Khartoum and other areas of the country impacted by the conflict that threatens to spiral into a civil war. 

The move further isolates millions of Sudanese from the international community. Thousands have fled the country since the conflict broke out in mid-April, but many will have challenges accessing their money abroad. Received remittances made up 3.3% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2021, according to the World Bank, the latest data available. 

The power struggle between the Sudanese military and the influential paramilitary group the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) turned violent on April 15, with the capital Khartoum being the centre of the fighting. Although the two warring parties agreed on a three-day truce on Tuesday, there is fear that the fighting could escalate.

More than 420 people, including at least 291 civilians, have been killed and over 3,700 have been injured in the fighting, according to the Associated Press. Foreign embassies have closed and are evacuating their nationals since the violence erupted. The conflict has derailed an internationally-backed plan for a transition to civilian rule after the 2019 ousting of long-time dictator Omar al Bashir, who ruled the country for nearly three decades.

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