(Khartoum) Air raids, gunfire and explosions shook Khartoum again on Monday, despite the announcement of a truce in the fighting between the army and the paramilitaries which plunged Sudan into a humanitarian situation close to “breaking point” according to the UN.
Khartoum, the capital of five million inhabitants, is “ overflown by fighter jets ” while shots and explosions echo in different neighborhoods, witnesses told AFP.
Fighting that left hundreds dead erupted on April 15 between the two generals in command of the country since their 2021 putsch, trapping millions of Sudanese.
“ The scale and speed at which events are unfolding in Sudan (are) unprecedented ”, estimated on Sunday the UN, which dispatched its head of humanitarian affairs, Martin Griffiths, to the region.
“ I am on my way […] to study how we can provide immediate aid ” to the inhabitants, declared Mr. Griffiths, for whom the “ humanitarian situation is reaching a breaking point ” in the country, one of the most poor of the world.
The massive looting of humanitarian offices and warehouses has “depleted most of our stocks”, he said.
Despite everything, in a country where a third of the inhabitants suffered from hunger before the war, the World Food Program (WFP) announced that it would “immediately lift the suspension of its activities”, ordered after the death of three of its employees.
Army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhane and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary boss Mohamed Hamdane Daglo, known as Hemedti, had agreed to extend the three-day ceasefire to midnight on Sunday. , after “mediation by the United States and Saudi Arabia”, according to the Sudanese army.
But since the start of the conflict, several truces have been announced before being immediately violated. According to experts, they only mean that the secure corridors for the evacuation of foreigners are maintained and that the negotiations, which take place abroad, continue.
So far, the two generals refuse direct negotiations.
The fighting left 528 dead and 4,599 injured, according to widely understated official figures.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Sunday managed to land in Port Sudan, 850 kilometers east of Khartoum, a first plane loaded with eight tons of aid.
This will only heal “1,500 wounded”, he warned.
The UN has identified 75,000 internally displaced people. At least 20,000 have fled to Chad, 6,000 to the Central African Republic and thousands more to South Sudan and Ethiopia.
In total, up to 270,000 people, according to a UN estimate, could flee the fighting which affects 12 of the 18 states of this country of 45 million inhabitants.
Residents of the capital, when not fleeing, remain barricaded, trying to survive despite food, water and electricity shortages.
The state of Khartoum has given “ leave until further notice ” to officials, while the police claim to be deployed to prevent looting.
Most of the country’s hospitals are out of service. For those still functioning, “ the situation is untenable ”, because the equipment is lacking, Majzoub Saad Ibrahim, a doctor in Ad-Damir, north of Khartoum, told AFP.
Several countries, including France, Germany and the United States, have evacuated their nationals and other foreigners. Canada has ended its evacuations “due to unsafe conditions”.
The Arab League is meeting in Cairo on Monday to discuss the situation in Sudan, after the United Arab Emirates, allies of General Daglo according to experts, announced that it had called the army chief.
Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal ben Farhane received an envoy from General Burhane on Sunday.
In addition, Riyadh called for a Wednesday meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
For the Carnegie Middle East Center, General Daglo is trying to buy time, because “the longer he can hold his positions in Khartoum, the greater his weight will be at the negotiating table. »
According to the UN, around 100 people were killed in West Darfur, a region marked by the bloody civil war that began in 2003 between the dictatorship of Omar al-Bashir and ethnic minorities.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned of a “terrible” situation, with “tribes now trying to arm themselves”.
As the humanitarian drama worsens, the NGO Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has stopped “almost all of (its) activities” because of the violence.
At the head of the Janjawid militiamen, General Daglo had carried out a scorched earth policy in Darfur on the orders of Bashir.
The war has killed around 300,000 people and displaced nearly 2.5 million, according to the UN. The Janjawid officially gave birth in 2013 to the FSR, paramilitary auxiliaries of the army.
Generals Burhane and Daglo had joined forces during the 2021 putsch to oust the civilians with whom they had shared power since the fall of Bashir in 2019. But differences then emerged and, in the absence of agreement on the integration of the FSR in the army, degenerated into open warfare.