April 13, 2024

People walk past shuttered shops in Khartoum, Sudan, Monday, April 17, 2023. Sudan's embattled capital has awoken to a third day of heavy fighting between the army and a powerful rival force for control of the country. Airstrikes and shelling intensified on Monday in parts of Khartoum and the adjoining city of Omdurman. (AP Photo/Marwan Ali)

A ceasefire in Sudan appears to be holding, although there have been reports of new gunfire and shelling.

It is the fourth effort to stop the fighting which began on 15 April, with previous truces not observed.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the 72-hour truce had been agreed between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) after 48 hours of negotiations.

A girl waiting for bus to leave Khartoum.

 

The latest ceasefire attempt started at midnight (22:00 GMT on Monday).

At least 459 people have died in the conflict so far, though the actual number is thought to be much higher.

programme they had escaped being caught up in a firefight between RSF fighters and the army but that a van travelling behind them was hit. The family then boarded a bus to the border, which took 12 hours, only for them to be met by “crowded and chaotic” scenes as people waited to be given entry.

“There were so many families with elderly passengers, children and babies,” said Mr Ibrahim. “The Sudanese are fleeing the country – it is a sad reality.”

Eiman ab Garga, a British-Sudanese gynaecologist who works in the UK, was visiting the capital with her children when the fighting began and has just been evacuated to Djibouti on a flight organised by France. Her hurried departure meant that she was not able to say goodbye to her ailing father, her mother or her sister.

“The country is dirty, there’s rubbish all over it,” she told BBC Radio 4’s World Tonight programme. “There’s sewage overflowing, it smells, so now we’re next going to have an outbreak of illness and disease, and there won’t be a hospital to go to there.”

“We’re just looking at death and destruction and destitution.”

Violence broke out, primarily in Khartoum, between rival military factions battling for control of Africa’s third largest country.

Two military men are at the centre of the dispute – Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the armed forces and in effect the country’s president, and his deputy and leader of the RSF, Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemedti.

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Sudan: The basics

  • Sudan is in north-east Africa and has a history of instability: The military toppled long-time leader Omar al-Bashir in 2019 after mass protests
  • It then overthrew a power-sharing government in 2021, putting two men at the helm: The head of the army and his deputy, who is also the head of a paramilitary group called the RSF
  • They disagree on how to restore civilian rule to Sudan: The RSF leader claims to represent marginalised groups against the country’s elites but his forces were accused of ethnic cleansing.
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Gen Dagalo has accused Gen Burhan’s government of being “radical Islamists” and said that he and the RSF were “fighting for the people of Sudan to ensure the democratic progress for which they have so long yearned”.

Many find this message hard to believe, given the brutal track record of the RSF.

Gen Burhan has said he supports the idea of returning to civilian rule, but that he will only hand over power to an elected government.

 

 

 

 

Source: By James Gregory & Oliver Slow
BBC News

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