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Sudan ceasefire raises hopes of relief in Khartoum


KHARTOUM — Scattered fighting could be heard between Sudan’s warring factions in the capital Khartoum on Sunday, residents said, following an agreement brokered by Saudi Arabia and the United States for a ceasefire. The weeklong shooting stoked hopes of a pause in the five-week conflict.

The agreement, signed by the military and the rival paramilitary Rapid Support Force (RSF) after talks in the Saudi city of Jeddah, will go into effect on Monday evening with a nationally recognized monitoring mechanism. economic support. It also allows the delivery of humanitarian aid.

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Repeated cease-fire announcements since the conflict began on April 15 have not stopped fighting, but the Jeddah agreement marks the first time the parties have signed a truce after talks judge.

Analysts say it is unclear whether army commander Abdel Fattah al-Burhan or RSF commander Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, can enforce the ceasefire on the ground. Both have previously said they are seeking victory in the war, and neither has come to Jeddah.

Since the war began, 1.1 million people have fled their homes, moving within Sudan or into neighboring countries, creating a humanitarian crisis that threatens to destabilize the region.

Those still in Khartoum are struggling to survive amid mass looting, the collapse of health services and dwindling supplies of food, fuel, electricity and water. Witnesses reported sounds of clashes in central and southern Khartoum on Sunday.


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Safaa Ibrahim, a 35-year-old resident of Khartoum, told Reuters by phone she hoped the deal could end the conflict.

“We are tired of this war. We were evicted from our home and the family was scattered between towns in Sudan and Egypt,” she said. “We want to return to a normal and safe life. Al-Burhan and Hemedti must respect everyone’s desire to live.”

According to the text of the Jeddah agreement, a committee consisting of three representatives from each warring side, three from Saudi Arabia and three from the United States will oversee the ceasefire.


War broke out in Khartoum over plans for the generals, who had assumed full power in the 2021 coup, to register their transition to elections under a civilian government.

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Burhan and Hemedti have held top positions on Sudan’s ruling council since former leader Omar al-Bashir was ousted in a popular uprising in 2019.

Negotiations in Jeddah focused on allowing aid and restoring essential services. Mediators say more negotiations are needed to find a way to remove the forces from urban areas to broker a lasting peace deal involving civilians.

Mohamed Hamed, an activist in the capital, said: “The people of Khartoum are waiting for a ceasefire and the opening of humanitarian corridors. “The health situation is getting worse day by day.”

A United Nations bulletin said 34 attacks on medical facilities were verified during the conflict, and looting of humanitarian supplies and attacks on medical facilities continued. since the two sides signed a pledge to protect aid supplies and civilian infrastructure in Jeddah on May 11.

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Senior army general Yassir al-Atta told Sudanese state television that the army had been trying to remove the RSF from homes, schools and hospitals.

Millions of civilians were trapped as the army used air strikes and shelling to target RSF forces that had held on to residential areas at the outset of the fighting.

When asked about calls to take up arms from some tribal leaders, Atta said it was optional but that people attacked in their homes could take action in self-defence. “Let them arm themselves with weapons to defend themselves, that’s a natural right,” he said.

Since the beginning of the conflict, unrest has flared up in other parts of Sudan, especially the western region of Darfur.

Some 705 people have been killed and at least 5,287 injured, according to the World Health Organization, although the true death toll is thought to be much higher.

(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz in Dubai, Mohamed Nureldin in Khartoun, Nafisa Eltahir and Adam Makary in Cairo; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Barbara Lewis)


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