Confusion in Sudan as fighters seem undeterred by *ceasefire
A 24-hour ceasefire between Sudan’s military and a paramilitary group appeared to be only partially observed in the capital Khartoum, indicating the deadly conflict for control of the North African country is far from over.
Fighting raged between the army led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces for a fourth day earlier Tuesday, before Shams El Din Kabbashi, a member of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, told Al-Arabiya television that a temporary truce would be implemented from 6 p.m. local time.
The battles have left more than 180 people dead and at least 1,800 others injured, and upended hopes of a return to civilian rule after a 2021 coup. Sudan’s official army spokesman said earlier the conflict had entered a “critical phase,” and there are growing concerns of a full-blown civil war that could draw in neighboring countries.
United Nations spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said fighting is ongoing after the cease-fire, dashing hopes of a temporary pause. There are discussions extending the timeframe so people can evacuate to safer zones, though humanitarian operations continue to be severely hampered, he said.
Residents of Khartoum said shooting and loud explosions could still be heard in several locations as of 8:30 p.m. local time, two and a half hours after the cease-fire was supposed to be implemented.
“I can tell you as I write this that I am hearing gunfire,” said Kholood Khair, founding director of the Confluence Advisory, a Khartoum-based think tank. Others concurred in three other districts of the capital.
Dallia Mohamed Abdelmoniem, a resident living close to the airport in Khartoum, reported differently: at 7:15 local time things had finally gone quiet in her area.
“It’s quiet now an hour after the cease-fire was meant to start so here’s hoping,” she said.
The RSF — led by Mohamed Hamdan Daglo — announced earlier it had agreed to a 24-hour cessation of hostilities after discussions with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other “friendly nations.” The army, noting the continued fighting, said it was “surprised at the enemy’s contradictions between the request for a truce and mobilization.”
Nine hospitals in Khartoum have been shuttered either due to shelling or being attacked by soldiers, according to the Sudanese Doctors’ Union Preliminary Committee. Those that remain open are facing shortages of water and electricity as well as medicines, including pain relief drugs.
The UN said fighters in Khartoum have targeted buildings occupied by diplomats and international humanitarian agency staff. The European Union said its ambassador had been assaulted in his home, while a US diplomatic convoy was also fired upon, according to Blinken. Those incidents follow the death of three UN World Food Programme employees in the western Darfur region after a firefight at the weekend.
Read more: Foreigners, Diplomats Targeted in Sudan as Fighting Persists
While the confrontation is currently “very much a domestic affair,” a prolonged conflict risks drawing in regional powers, said Khair.
“If this goes on and depending on who gets the upper hand there could absolutely be engagement of regional actors,” she said.
Read more: These Are the Key Foreign Power Brokers in the Sudan Conflict