Fighting continues in Sudan as death toll mounts to 270, over 2,600 injured

This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows destroyed ground attack aircraft at El Obeid airbase, Sudan, Tuesday April 18, 2023. (Satellite image ©2023 Maxar Technologies via AP)

Khartoum: Around 270 people have died and more than 2,600 have been injured as a result of the turmoil in Sudan, reported CNN, citing authorities with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Sudan’s Ministry of Health Emergency Operations Centre.

Hours after an internationally mediated ceasefire was supposed to go into effect, fighting in Sudan resumed as soldiers loyal to opposing generals fought over vital locations in the city and accused one another of violating the ceasefire.

Loud gunfire could still be heard in the background of live feeds from several television news channels in the Khartoum capital region on Tuesday, minutes after the agreed-upon 6 pm (16:00 GMT) start of the truce, according to ANI.

Both the competing paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the regular army issued statements accusing each other of violating the ceasefire. The army’s top leadership has stated that operations to secure the capital and other places will continue, according to Al Jazeera.

United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric at a news briefing in New York said, “We have not received any indications here that there’s been a halt in the fighting.”

According to Al Jazeera, the conflict between Sudan’s military leader and his deputy on the ruling council erupted four days ago, derailing a plan for a civilian democracy that had received international support, four years after the overthrow of the previous government by widespread protests and two years after a military coup.

According to the UN, the fighting has caused a humanitarian disaster, including the near-complete collapse of the health system. The organisation’s Global Food Programme ceased operations when three of its employees were assassinated.

While speaking in Japan on Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he had called the two rival leaders – army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and RSF leader General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo – and asked for a ceasefire “to allow the Sudanese to be safely reunited with families” and to provide them with relief.

Both parties told Al Jazeera they supported the agreed-upon ceasefire.

Colonel Khaled Al-Akida, an army spokesman said, “We are keen to implement the truce and restore normal life in the city. But the RSF is a militia that does not respect anything.”

Meanwhile, the RSF said that it will uphold its part of the truce agreement.

According to Musa Khaddam, adviser to the RSF commander, “our forces deployed in various areas of Khartoum are committed to the truce.”

Al-Burhan is the leader of a ruling council formed after the military takeover in 2021 and al-Bashir’s departure in 2019, while Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, is his deputy on the ruling council.

After decades of authoritarianism and military control in Sudan, which is strategically placed between Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, and Africa’s volatile Sahel region, their power struggle has hindered plans for a transition to a civilian administration.

If the violence does not stop, it may draw regional actors who have previously supported various Sudanese factions.

A previous, more condensed truce set for Sunday was also largely ignored. Artillery barrages, combat aircraft raids, and street fighting have confined residents and visitors to their houses in Khartoum.

According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, providing humanitarian services in the capital is nearly impossible. According to Al Jazeera, it warned that Sudan’s health system could collapse.

With inputs from agencies

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