Clashes subside in Sudan’s Khartoum after ceasefire extended

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Clashes subsided in Sudan’s capital on Tuesday though fighting could be heard in some areas, residents said, after military factions battling for more than six weeks agreed to extend a ceasefire aimed at allowing aid to reach civilians.

The army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) agreed to extend a week-long ceasefire deal by five days just before it was due to expire late on Monday.

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The truce was brokered and is being remotely monitored by Saudi Arabia and the United States, which say it has been violated by both sides but has still allowed for the delivery of aid to an estimated two million people.

“We hope this truce succeeds even if only to stop the war a little and that we can return to our normal lives. We have hope in the truce and we don’t have other options,” said Hind Saber, a 53-year-old resident of Khartoum.

Hours before the ceasefire extension was signed, residents reported intensive fighting in all three of the adjoining cities that make up Sudan’s greater capital around the confluence of the Nile - Khartoum, Omdurman and Bahri.

The war has caused nearly 1.4 million people to flee their homes, including more than 350,000 that have crossed into neighboring countries.

Areas of the capital have been hit by widespread looting and frequent cuts to power and water supplies. Most hospitals have been put out of service.

The conflict erupted on April 15 over internationally backed plans for a transition to elections under a civilian government.

The army and the RSF had held the top positions on Sudan’s ruling council since former leader Omar al-Bashir was toppled during a popular uprising in 2019.

They staged a coup in 2021 as they were due to hand leadership of the council to civilians, before falling out over the chain of command and restructuring of the RSF under the planned transition.

UN children’s agency UNICEF said more than 13.6 million children in Sudan, a country of 49 million people, were in urgent need of lifesaving humanitarian support.

The UN World Food Program, which expects up to 2.5 million people in Sudan to slip into hunger in coming months, said that 17,000 metric tonnes of food had been looted since the conflict began.

WFP said on Monday that it had begun to distribute food in parts of the capital for the first time since the outbreak of fighting.

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