(Khartoum) Leaders of Sudan’s warring army and paramilitary forces agreed to a seven-day truce from May 4 to 11 in a phone call with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, announcing the South Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday.
“General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane […] and General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo […] have agreed in principle to a seven-day truce from May 4 to 11,” the ministry said in a statement.
Fierce fighting continues Tuesday in Sudan between the army and paramilitaries, causing a humanitarian “catastrophe”, according to the international community which is increasing initiatives on the diplomatic field.
“We hear gunshots, military planes and anti-aircraft fire,” said a resident of Khartoum.
Other witnesses confirm “aerial bombings” in different areas of the capital, which have been plagued by chaos since army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhane and his deputy, Mohamed Hamdane Daglo, led the paramilitary Support Forces Rapid (FSR), went to war for power on April 15.
More than 500 people were killed, mainly in Khartoum and Darfur (west), and thousands injured, according to a largely underestimated toll.
A new truce, violated from the start, must end on Wednesday at midnight. It nevertheless allows evacuations to continue, Russia and Pakistan having announced on Tuesday the departure of hundreds of their nationals.
More than 330,000 people have been displaced and 100,000 have left for neighboring countries, according to the UN, which expects eight times as many refugees. Those who remain are enduring water, electricity and food shortages in Khartoum, one of the hottest cities in the world.
The conflict has plunged the country, one of the poorest in the world, into a “real disaster”, according to the UN, which has received “only 14%” of the funds requested this year: 1.5 billion dollars are missing. On call.
But for Kenyan President William Ruto, one of the regional mediators, the two generals refuse “to hear the calls” of the international community.
Americans, Saudis and African leaders are currently seeking to enforce the truce. On this point, the two belligerents assure “to be ready to start technical discussions”, said the UN envoy to Sudan, Volker Perthes.
But they will “not be face-to-face” and “could be held in Saudi Arabia”, before a return to political negotiations is possible, he insisted.
The two generals were to see each other on April 15, but they preferred to let the guns speak, Mr. Perthes had said in recent days.
The two men had joined forces in 2021 to oust the civilians with whom they had shared power since the fall of dictator Omar al-Bashir two years earlier by a putsch. But then differences arose to turn into open war when the rivals in fatigues failed to agree on the integration of the FSR into the army.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken “reiterated US support” for diplomatic efforts to “end the conflict” and ensure “unimpeded humanitarian access”.
After the Saudi authorities, an emissary of General Burhane met the Egyptian authorities in Cairo, where the Arab League has been discussing Sudan since Monday.
But the African Union (AU) called for “avoiding inconsistencies of dispersed action”. “Our priority today is to uphold and prolong the ceasefire,” said AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki.
The objective is “the resumption of the political process in the country”, he added, stressing the importance of “working together”.
“The longer we take to coordinate our efforts, the more chances we lose to help resolve this crisis,” endorsed Ethiopian Ismail Wais, representative of the East African regional bloc IGAD.
In any case, “without decisive intervention, the most likely scenario is one of a protean, long and bloody civil war”, writes Ernst Jan Hogendoorn for Atlantic Council.
This expert from Sudan expects a “staggering humanitarian disaster, similar to that in Somalia, Syria or Yemen”, with a risk of regional destabilization.
From Nairobi, the head of the UN for humanitarian affairs, Martin Griffiths, tries to negotiate the entry of aid while the bombings and looting have spared neither hospitals nor humanitarian organizations.
The deadly fighting that broke out on April 15 in Sudan between the regular army and paramilitaries has caused hundreds of thousands of people to flee inside the country and in the region.
More than 330,000 people are displaced within Sudan itself according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), while more than 100,000 others have found refuge in neighboring countries, the majority in Egypt, Chad and Sudan. South Sudan.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that up to 800,000 people could leave Sudan.
Here is an overview of the trips.
Sudan was hosting 1.13 million refugees before recent deadly fighting, making it one of the top host countries in Africa.
Among them were 800,000 South Sudanese, 126,000 Eritreans and 58,000 Ethiopians, the latter being mainly housed in two camps in eastern Sudan.
There were also 3.7 million internally displaced people in Sudan, most of them in West Darfur.
The fighting has forced more than 334,000 people to flee inside the country since April 15, IOM said on Tuesday.
UNHCR is particularly concerned about the situation in Darfur, where the humanitarian situation remains dire. The UN agency fears that these recent clashes are fueling pre-existing ethnic and inter-communal tensions – over land and access to resources – and causing greater displacement.
UNHCR estimates that 30,000 people have arrived in Chad, of whom more than 21,000 have so far been identified. “We are continuing verification and registration operations,” agency spokeswoman Olga Sarrado said Tuesday.
More than 400,000 Sudanese refugees were already living in Chad before April 15, in 13 camps and among local communities in the east of the country.
The new arrivals represent an additional challenge for the country’s already stretched public services and resources. The imminent arrival of the rainy season will complicate the delivery of aid to the border area.
Some 40,000 Sudanese and 2,300 nationals from other countries have arrived in Egypt, UNHCR said on Tuesday, citing Egyptian government data.
UNHCR and other UN agencies are assessing the needs of the refugees. The aid is provided by the United Nations and distributed by the Egyptian Red Crescent to the refugees.
27,275 people have arrived in South Sudan, according to data released by UNHCR on Tuesday.
The majority (20,932) are South Sudanese. There are also 2679 Sudanese as well as 3364 nationals of other countries.
People arriving at the border are elderly people, people with disabilities, pregnant women, women with young children and large families.
UNHCR has set up a transit center where new arrivals can receive emergency relief and benefit from child protection services, family reunification and telecommunications services to contact their families and plan their next step. journey.
Some 8,900 people fled to Ethiopia, including only 750 Ethiopians and 870 Sudanese.
The majority of people (7,280) who arrived in Ethiopia are nationals of other countries.
UNHCR has deployed teams at the two main border crossing points in Amhara and Benshangul-Gumuz regions.
UNHCR estimated on Tuesday that around 6,000 refugees have now crossed the Central African border, where the organization has deployed an emergency team.
Registration of refugees is expected to begin soon, and assessments of resettlement opportunities for refugees are underway to direct them away from the border and place them in safer locations, the agency said on Tuesday.
According to the IOM, 550 people have fled to Libya. UNHCR does not yet have data for Eritrea.
Aid is coming in a trickle, however: MSF delivered “ten tons” of medical supplies on Tuesday after six WHO containers and a Red Cross plane.
The situation is even more critical in West Darfur, bordering Chad, where violence has killed, according to the UN, a hundred people since last week, in this region traumatized by a bloody war in the 2000s.