Bullets and Blame
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An internationally supported 24-hour ceasefire agreed Tuesday between Sudan’s military and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) was over as soon as it had begun, Reuters reported.
The ceasefire was supposed to bring a temporary end to four days of intense fighting that since Saturday has left at least 270 people dead and 2,600 injured, Axios reported. But loud gunfire could be heard on news broadcasts from the capital Khartoum when the 6 p.m. start time passed, and witnesses reported airstrikes, tank fire, and mass troop movements.
“We have not received any indications here that there’s been a halt in the fighting,” United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarraic told reporters in New York.
The truce came about following international calls to end the conflict between the warring factions, amid reports that diplomats and international organizations had been attacked.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with army leader Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan and the RSF chief, Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo – better known as Hemedti – after a US diplomatic convoy was attacked Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the United Nations and other aid groups suspended some aid programs following attacks on their employees and offices. Three World Food Program workers were killed in the fighting in North Darfur on Saturday, as violent clashes erupted in Khartoum and other cities across the country.
The conflict began after increasing tensions between Burhan and Dagalo, two military leaders who had orchestrated a coup in October 2021, disrupting Sudan’s path to democracy following the popular overthrow of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir four years ago.
The disagreements escalated quickly, especially after the military, the RSF, and a coalition of civilian parties reached a preliminary political agreement in December, in which the army pledged to relinquish control.
The recent outbreak of violence poses a serious threat to Sudan, raising the risk of a wider conflict and further hindering the nation’s transition to civilian governance.