'Calm' in Sudan's capital as 72-hour ceasefire takes effect

Sudanese families fleeing the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region make their way through the desert after they crossed the border between Sudan and Chad to seek refuge in Goungour, Chad. (Photo/Reuters)

A 72-hour ceasefire between Sudan's warring sides has taken effect on the eve of a humanitarian conference, to allow for the delivery of desperately needed aid to the country.

The ceasefire came into force at 6:00 am (0400 GMT) on Sunday, with the mediators saying the two sides had agreed to refrain from attacks and allow freedom of movement and the delivery of humanitarian aid.

"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and United States of America announce the agreement of representatives of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on a ceasefire throughout Sudan for a period of 72 hours," the Saudi foreign ministry said.

Since April 15, the army led by Abdel Fattah al Burhan has been battling paramilitary forces commanded by his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, after the two fell out in a bitter power struggle.

Multiple truces have been agreed and broken in the war that has claimed the lives of more than 2,000 people and driven over two million from their homes, including at least 528,000 who fled abroad.

Clashes had intensified before both sides pledged to respect the latest truce in separate statements on Saturday evening.

The RSF said it would abide by the cessation of hostilities, while the army said "despite our commitment to the ceasefire, we will respond decisively to any violations the rebels commit".

Saudi Arabia had threatened to "postpone" negotiations on its soil between the two sides "should the parties fail to respect the 72-hour ceasefire". The talks, which began weeks ago, have so far failed to produce any concrete agreement.

Lull in fighting in Sudan's capital

Witnesses in Khartoum said the situation was "calm" but they want a permanent truce.

"We want a full ceasefire," Sami Omar, who lives in Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman, told AFP news agency.

"A truce is not sufficient for us to return to our lives. They may stop fighting, but the RSF will not leave the homes (they occupy) and passing through checkpoints is just as difficult."

49-year-old resident Salaheldin Ahmed told Reuters by phone on Sunday morning that he hopes the truce could be the "beginning of the end" of the war.

"We are tired," he said. "Enough of war, death and looting."

A record 25 million people –– more than half the northeast African country's population –– depend on humanitarian aid, the United Nations says.

The UN will on Monday host an international donors' conference for Sudan in the Swiss city of Geneva.

Kuwait said on Sunday that it had sent 10 tonnes of food and medical supplies to Sudan.


Source: TRT