(Khartoum) A 72-hour ceasefire reached in Sudan between the warring parties under the aegis of the United States is generally respected Tuesday in Khartoum, while foreign countries intensify their efforts to evacuate their nationals from this country from Northeast Africa in chaos.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed concern about “very high” biological risks after the occupation “by belligerents” of a “public health laboratory” in the capital, where one could find pathogens of measles, cholera and poliomyelitis.

Ten days after the start of the fighting which left hundreds dead, explosions and gunfire were rare in Khartoum until midday. But as with every announcement of a temporary cessation of hostilities, the paramilitaries of General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo, and the army of rival General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane, have accused each other of violating the truce.

On the other hand, it was impossible to know immediately whether the fierce fighting that had raged in the vast region of Darfur since the start of hostilities on April 15 had diminished in intensity.

More than 450 people have been killed and more than 4,000 others injured since mid-April in Sudan, according to the latest UN report, but “after intense negotiations”, the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces ( FSR) “have agreed to a nationwide ceasefire,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said shortly before the truce went into effect at midnight Monday.

The army and paramilitaries have confirmed a “dedicated truce to the opening of humanitarian corridors”.

Taking advantage of this potential lull, up to 270,000 people could still flee to neighboring Chad and South Sudan, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) warned on Tuesday.

Khaled Omar Youssef, of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FLC), the civilian bloc sacked by the putsch led in 2021 by the two then-allied generals, welcomed “American mediation” which established, with the civilians, “contacts with the army and the FSR” in view of “this humanitarian truce. It will allow a dialogue on the modalities of a definitive ceasefire,” he told AFP.

Blinken said he was working with allies to form a “commission” to negotiate a permanent cessation of hostilities in Sudan. The military referred to “Saudi-American” mediation.

The intensity of the fighting in several districts of the capital had in fact decreased since the beginning of the evacuations of foreigners on Saturday.

In other areas, however, clashes have been more destructive in recent days. On videos posted online, which could not be immediately authenticated by AFP, burnt stores, crushed buildings and haggard civilians in the middle of the still smoking rubble testify to the violence of the air raids and the shootings. ‘artillery.

Dalia Mohammed fled Khartoum for Port Sudan on the east coast. “We ended up on the street, we became displaced because of something that has nothing to do with us: it’s just two men and their over-armed troops,” she laments.

Those who cannot leave the capital, plunged into chaos, try to survive, deprived of water and electricity, subject to food shortages and internet and telephone cuts.

The conflict risks “invading the entire region and beyond”, warned UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The Security Council is due to meet on Tuesday evening to discuss the conflict.

The number of countries evacuating their nationals or diplomatic personnel from Sudan continues to grow, taking advantage of the 72-hour ceasefire between the warring parties under the aegis of the United States.

More than a thousand European Union nationals have already been evacuated out of around 1,500 who lived in the country before the conflict, according to a European official.

France, which closed its embassy, ​​evacuated 538 people including 209 French people, ensuring several air rotations between Khartoum and Djibouti. A French frigate docked in Port Sudan on Tuesday to transfer some 500 United Nations personnel to Jeddah.

Four hundred people of German, Austrian, Belgian or Jordanian origin were evacuated by planes by Germany, according to Defense Minister Boris Pistorius.

Italy evacuated all Italians who “requested to leave” and “foreign citizens”, or “about 200 people”, Italian authorities said. Rome also closed its embassy.

London announced Tuesday to begin the evacuation by military planes of its nationals. About 2,000 Britons have reported to authorities that they want to be evacuated from the country.

Ukraine also said on Tuesday that it had evacuated 138 people, including 87 of its nationals, from Sudan to Egypt.

After US government personnel were evacuated from Khartoum on Saturday evening, some 100 US special operations soldiers participated in the evacuation of “just under a hundred” people by means of a helicopter operation, according to the Department of Defense. ‘State.