Sudan military approves truce extension but fighting flares

In this handout image, provided by the UK Ministry of Defence, on Wednesday, April 26, 2023 British Nationals seen here boarding an RAF aircraft in Akrotiri, Cyprus, after being evacuated from Sudan. (LPhot Mark Johnson/UK Ministry of Defence via AP)

Sudan's army chief, General Abdel Fattah al Burhan has given initial approval to the regional African bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development's [IGAD] proposal to extend a truce for 72 hours and send an army envoy to the south Sudan capital, Juba, for talks, an army statement said.

The proposal suggests sending both an army and Rapid Support Forces [RSF] envoys to Juba to discuss the details.

Sudan's army and a paramilitary RSF battled on Khartoum's outskirts on Wednesday, undermining a truce in their 11-day conflict, but the army expressed willingness to extend the ceasefire.

The Sudanese armed forces and RSF previously agreed to a three-day ceasefire that was due to expire late on Thursday. There was no immediate response from the RSF to the proposal from the IGAD, a regional bloc.

The military said the presidents of South Sudan, Kenya and Djibouti worked on a proposal that includes extending the truce and talks between the two forces.

"Burhan thanked the IGAD and expressed an initial approval to that," the army statement said.

Some of Wednesday's heaviest battles were in Omdurman, a city adjoining Khartoum where the army was fighting RSF reinforcements from other regions of Sudan, a Reuters reporter said.

Heavy gunfire and airstrikes could be heard into the evening.

In Khartoum, which together with two bordering cities is one of Africa's largest urban areas, gangs marauded and there was widespread looting.

In southern Khartoum, machine gun fire was reported near one of the homes owned by paramilitary commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who has led the heavily armed RSF into fight against the armed forces under army chief Burhan.

Since fighting erupted on April 15, air strikes and artillery have killed at least 512 people, wounded nearly 4,200, destroyed hospitals and limited food distribution in the vast nation where a third of the 46 million people were already reliant on humanitarian aid.

WHO predicts 'many more deaths'

The World Health Organization said only 16 percent of health facilities were functioning in Khartoum and predicted "many more deaths" due to disease and shortages of food, water and medical services including immunization.

An estimated 50,000 acutely malnourished children have had treatment disrupted due to the conflict, and those hospitals still functioning are facing shortages of medical supplies, power and water, according to a UN update on Wednesday.

Deadly clashes broke out in Geneina in West Darfur on Tuesday and Wednesday resulting in looting and civilian deaths and raising concerns about an escalation of ethnic tensions, the update said.

The crisis has sent growing numbers of refugees across Sudan's borders, with the UN refugee agency estimating 270,000 people could flee into South Sudan and Chad alone.

Since fighting broke out, multiple foreign governments from all corners of the globe have organised road convoys, aircraft and ships to get thousands of their nationals out of Sudan, and citizens have fled overland to neighbouring countries.

The UN representative to Sudan, Volker Perthes, told the UN Security Council that "both of the warring parties have fought with disregard for the laws and norms of war".

Perthes, who has stayed in Sudan, said they have been "attacking densely populated areas with little consideration for civilians, for hospitals, or even for vehicles transferring the wounded and sick".


Source: TRT World