Sudan’s rival generals attempt new ceasefire as residents flee 5th day of conflict – National
Sudanese rival generals on Wednesday made a fresh attempt at a 24-hour humanitarian ceasefire after a failed ceasefire the night before. He said he needed guarantees and a wider window to help civilians trapped in street fighting.
The terrified Sudanese fled Khartoum earlier in the day, hauling whatever they could carry and attempting to escape the capital.
After the ceasefire went into effect at 6 p.m., fighting lost its intensity in the first few hours, with sporadic clashes continuing in the city center, said Atiyah Abdallah Atiyah, secretary of the Doctors Syndicate, who is still in the capital. But he said neither side provided guarantees to his group to facilitate the movement of medical workers and ambulances.
Desperate residents of the capital are running out of food and other supplies as they seek refuge in their homes from gunfire in the streets outside. Overwhelmed, staff are exhausted and medical supplies are depleted. Armed fighters are increasingly looting shops and robbing anyone who dares to venture outside.
Nearly 300 people have died in the past five days, according to the UN health agency, but the death toll is likely to be higher as many bodies remain uncollected on the streets.
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In the tense hours after the ceasefire on Wednesday, Abdallah al-Tayyeb joined other residents to collect bodies near the main military headquarters, the scene of heavy fighting. and a bad smell reached our house,” he said. “That scene was brutal.”
Hundreds of people gave up holding out and fled their homes to calm down, even as explosions and gunfire rocked Khartoum and the neighboring city of Omdurman after Tuesday night’s failed ceasefire attempt. Residents in several areas told the Associated Press news agency that men, women and children had set out with their luggage, some on foot and others in droves.
On Wednesday night, the Army and its rival militia Rapid Relief Forces separately announced the start of a new 24-hour truce.
White House Press Secretary Carine Jean-Pierre called on both sides to honor the ceasefire, “abandon violence and return to negotiations.” She said the military and her RSF “are responsible for ensuring the protection of civilians and non-combatants.”
So far, former allies who opposed the pro-democracy movement in Sudan, Army Chief Abdel Fattah Burhan and RSF Commander General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, seem determined to crush each other in a power struggle. Looked.
Attempts at a ceasefire on Tuesday fell through after Secretary of State Antony Brinken spoke to each general by phone and received pressure from allies in the region. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have called on all sides to stand up.
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All day Wednesday, the two sides fought around the main military headquarters in central Khartoum and the nearby airport, which the RSF has repeatedly tried to seize. A resident said the military was attacking his RSF positions with airstrikes.
The Army’s air power monopoly appeared to have the upper hand in the fighting in Khartoum and Omdurman, and was able to capture several RSF bases in the past few days. Thousand fighter planes are spread all over the city.
Residents said armed men, mostly in RSF uniforms, attacked homes, offices and shops across Khartoum.
“They go from house to house, shop to shop in small groups and loot everything,” said a resident of Kafori, an upscale neighborhood in northern Khartoum. “They will raid your home and take all your valuables at gunpoint.”
Residents said many families had started taking up arms to protect their property. He and his brother guard the house at night, he said.
Another resident of the Arab Market District said men in RSF uniforms broke into a mobile phone store and took everything they had. The resident spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.
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Both sides of the conflict have a long history of human rights abuses. The RSF grew out of Janjaweed militias accused of widespread atrocities when the government sent them to quell an insurgency in the Darfur region of western Sudan in the early 2000s.
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Darfur has also seen violent clashes in the past five days. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), after its French name, said gunmen stormed its facility in Nyala, Darfur, stole vehicles and office equipment, and looted a warehouse storing medical supplies. The International Committee of the Red Cross said Nyala’s office was also looted and a vehicle was taken.
MSF program manager Abdallah Hussein welcomed the ceasefire, but said 24 hours was “not enough” for sustained relief efforts, especially in remote areas.
Foreigners, including diplomats and aid personnel, were also involved in the fighting,
German media, including the DPA News Agency, said three A400M transport planes had been sent to evacuate German citizens from Khartoum but turned back on Wednesday due to safety concerns. The Dutch government has sent Hercules C-130s and A330s to Jordan to stand by, but said “evacuation is not possible at this time”. Japan said it was preparing to send military planes to evacuate about 60 Japanese.
In Brussels, European Commission spokeswoman Dana Spinant confirmed reports that a senior EU official was shot and injured in Sudan, but gave no details. identified as Wim Fransen. Separately, gunmen broke into the EU ambassador’s residence this week and attacked him, but a spokeswoman said he had returned to work.
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Khartoum’s hospitals are dangerously short of medical supplies and often run without electricity and clean water, the ICRC said in a statement. Dozens of health facilities in Khartoum and across the country have shut down as clashes approach, Sudan doctors said Wednesday. At least nine hospitals were said to have been bombed.
The United Nations World Health Organization said Wednesday that at least 296 people have been killed and more than 3,000 injured since the fighting began, but did not give a breakdown of the dead civilians and combatants. At least 174 civilians were killed and hundreds more injured, the overwatch Doctors Syndicate said on Tuesday.
Conflict between the military and the RSF has once again derailed Sudan’s transition to democratic rule after decades of dictatorship and civil war.
A popular uprising four years ago prompted the removal of longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir. However, Burhan and D’Agallo jointly carried out the 2021 coup. Both generals have long histories of human rights abuses, and their forces cracked down on pro-democracy activists.
Under international pressure, Barhan and Dagalo recently agreed a framework agreement with political parties and pro-democracy groups. However, the signing was repeatedly postponed due to heightened tensions over the RSF’s integration into the military and the future chain of command.
Magdy reports from Cairo. Associated Press writers John Gambrel of Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Lorne Cook of Brussels contributed to this report.