Fighting continues in the evening as Sudan awaits ceasefire

Airstrikes and explosions struck Khartoum again on Monday ahead of an expected evening of a week-long ceasefire between the army and paramilitary forces to let civilians and humanitarian aid go through.

For the 37th day in a row, five million residents of Sudan’s capital woke up to the sounds of fighting in the scorching heat, most of them without water, electricity and telecommunications.

Since April 15, fighting between General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane’s army and the paramilitary forces of General Mohamed Hamdan Dagallo’s Rapid Support Forces (FSR) has killed over a thousand people in Sudan, one of the world’s poorest countries. There is one. World.

The war in this East African country has also created more than a million displaced and refugees and if it continues, warns the United Nations, one million more Sudanese could seek refuge in neighboring countries, fearing a contagion.

– One week ceasefire –

In an effort to rehabilitate infrastructure and supply hospitals, humanitarian stocks and looted or bombed markets, US and Saudi mediators announced they had agreed to a week from 7:45 GMT Monday, following two weeks of talks in Saudi Arabia. Armistice has been obtained. ,

Both camps announced in a press release that they wanted to respect the ceasefire, welcomed by the United Nations, the African Union and the East African bloc, Igad.

But since the start of the war on April 15, a dozen ceasefires have been promised and promptly violated.

Despite everything, Khaled Saleh, who lives in Omdurman, a northwestern suburb of Khartoum, wants to believe the militias will honor their commitment.

“With the ceasefire, running water can be restored and I can finally see a doctor as I should regularly for my diabetes and my high blood pressure,” he told AFP.

Doctors continue to warn about the dramatic fate of hospitals: In Khartoum, as in Darfur, the country’s western region most devastated by fighting with the capital, they are almost all out of order. Those that haven’t been bombed don’t have much stock or are occupied by belligerents.

Across the country, banks are closed and supply convoys disrupted by airstrikes, artillery fire and heavy gun battles between apartment buildings.

Store in South Khartoum, May 21, 2023 (- -)

While 25 million out of 45 million Sudanese need humanitarian aid, according to the United Nations, food is becoming increasingly scarce and most agri-food factories have been destroyed or looted.

– Secure Corridor –

Humanitarians are calling for safe corridors to deliver medicine, food and fuel to revive services that have been crumbling for decades.

This time, to assure Riyadh and Washington, there would be “a ceasefire monitoring mechanism” to bring together representatives from both sides, as well as the United States and Saudi Arabia.

Residents of southern Khartoum relaxing at a cafe May 21, 2023 (- -)
Residents of southern Khartoum relaxing at a cafe May 21, 2023 (- -)

The UN envoy to Sudan, Volker Perthes, will report on developments in the country to the Security Council in New York in the evening.

At the start of the war, he said he was “surprised” when fighting broke out, when the two generals were to meet under the auspices of the United Nations to discuss democratic transition.

In October 2021, he ousted civilians from power, ending a two-year democratic transition following the fall of dictator Omar al-Bashir in 2019.

But the two generals, in a struggle for power, were divided on the question of integration of the FSR into the regular army.

A Sudanese soldier talks to a resident of southern Khartoum outside an open store, May 21, 2023 (- -)
A Sudanese soldier talks to a resident of southern Khartoum outside an open store, May 21, 2023 (- -)

Since April 15, the two men have not spoken to each other, satisfying themselves against each other through the media.

On Friday, General Burhane, Sudan’s de facto ruler, replaced his deputy, General Dagallo, who had become his enemy, as number two in military power with Malik Agar, a former rebel who signed a peace deal with Khartoum in 2020. was signed.

He replaced several senior officials, including the head of the Central Bank, with three of his loyalists at the helm of the army.

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