Sudanese Ceasefire brings respite for citizens
Sporadic artillery fire was reported in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, early on Tuesday morning, but residents said fighting calmed down later on what was the first full day of the country’s latest ceasefire.
The seven-day cessation of hostilities between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, brokered by the United States and Saudi Arabia, came into force at 19h45 GMT on Monday.
Although fighting has continued through previous ceasefires, there is some hope that it will hold this time as it is the first to be agreed to formally following negotiations in Jeddah.
The United Nations has urged the warring generals to honour the agreement.
“I call on both to end the fighting and to return to dialogue in the interest of Sudan and its people. In Khartoum, in Darfur, and elsewhere, the warring parties have fought their war with little regard for the laws and norms of war,” said Volker Perthes, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sudan.
Activists have complained to the UN of severe human rights abuses against civilians during the fighting, saying these must be investigated.
Across the country, people could be seen taking advantage of the ceasefire to stock up on food and other essential supplies.
Witnesses in Khartoum reported a welcome respite in the fighting after a rocky start to the humanitarian truce.
Around noon on Tuesday, they said a relative calm had taken hold.
“We have not heard shelling in our neighbourhood since last night,” a resident of southern Khartoum said.
More than five weeks of war have pitted the army, led by Sudan’s de facto leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, against the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces of his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.
An estimated 1,000 people have died in the battle and more than a million Sudanese have fled their homes, including some 250,000 who left the country.
The United Nations says more than half the population, 25 million people, are now in need of humanitarian aid.