Week-long ceasefire in Sudan


This agreement will be enforced by a US-Saudi and international-supported monitoring mechanism…reports Asian Lite News

Warring factions in Sudan have agreed to a seven-day ceasefire following talks in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah, according to a statement from Washington and Riyadh, as fighting that has killed hundreds and displaced more than a million entered its sixth week.

The ceasefire agreement was signed late on Saturday.

It will take effect 48 hours after, at 9:45pm local time (19:45 GMT) on Monday, the sponsors of the talks, the United States and Saudi Arabia, said in their joint statement.

Numerous previous ceasefire agreements were violated. However, this agreement will be enforced by a US-Saudi and international-supported monitoring mechanism, the statement said without providing details.

The agreement also calls for distributing humanitarian assistance, restoring essential services and withdrawing forces from hospitals and essential public facilities. “It is past time to silence the guns and allow unhindered humanitarian access. I implore both sides to uphold this agreement — the eyes of the world are watching,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

The fighting between Sudan’s army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has plunged the country into chaos. Stocks of food, cash and essentials are rapidly dwindling, and mass looting has hit banks, embassies, aid warehouses and even churches.

But the Sudanese people — who are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance — were deeply sceptical of the agreement, said Morgan.

“People say that they are not sure if this ceasefire will hold. They’ve seen how previous ceasefires have played out. And they say that until Tuesday or Wednesday, when and if they do not hear the sound of artillery in their neighbourhoods and when and if they see humanitarian aid, then they will know if there’s an actual ceasefire.”

The ceasefire came as residents in Omdurman and Khartoum North, the two cities that lie across the Nile from Khartoum, reported heavy air raids.

The RSF is embedded in residential districts, drawing almost continual air attacks by the regular armed forces.

Witnesses in Khartoum said that the situation was relatively calm, although sporadic gunshots could be heard.

The conflict, which began on April 15, has killed at least 705 people and wounded at least 5,287, according to the World Health Organization. Some 1.1 million people have been displaced internally and into neighbouring countries.

In recent days, ground fighting has flared once again in the Darfur region, in the cities of Nyala and Zalenjei.

Both sides blamed each other in statements late on Friday for sparking the fighting in Nyala, one of the country’s largest cities, which had for weeks been relatively calm due to a locally-brokered truce.

A local activist told Reuters there were sporadic gun clashes near the city’s main market close to army headquarters on Saturday morning. Almost 30 people have died in the two previous days of fighting, according to activists.

The war broke out in Khartoum after disputes over plans for the RSF to be integrated into the army under an internationally-backed deal to shift Sudan towards democracy following decades of conflict-ridden rule by former President Omar al-Bashir, who had appointed himself as leader of the country after staging a coup in 1989.

Qatar condemns attack on embassy

Qatar has condemned the recent armed attack on its embassy building in Khartoum, which resulted in significant damage to the premises, media reported.

All embassy staff had been evacuated beforehand, according to the Qatar News Agency report on Saturday.

In an official statement, the Qatari Foreign Ministry stressed “the need to prosecute the perpetrators and hold them accountable for the consequences of this heinous criminal act, which constitutes a violation of international law and agreements”.

The Ministry urged “an immediate halt to the fighting in Sudan” and all parties involved to exercise restraint and resolve their differences through peaceful dialogue.

Since April 15, Sudan has been locked in deadly armed clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces in the capital Khartoum and several other areas.

UN releases $22 mn

The UN has released $22 million to aid people fleeing the hostilities in Sudan into four neighbouring countries, UN humanitarians said.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Friday that UN Under-Secretary-General Martin Griffiths, the relief chief, authorised the funds to help support about 2,50,000 people the UN Refugee Agency reported seeking safety in the Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt and South Sudan.

Fighting between two military factions broke out in Sudan’s capital of Khartoum on April 15 and spread elsewhere in the country, Xinhua news agency reported.

OCHA said UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Chad, Violet Kakyomya, visited refugees and returnees at the border in Koufroun earlier on Friday.

The office said renewed violence in Sudan’s West Darfur state drove about 30,000 people to cross into Chad in the last week. Humanitarian agencies are working closely with the government to scale up the response.

The International Organisation for Migration said the conflict has displaced more than 8,43,000 people inside Sudan.

Since the fighting broke out, the WHO verified 34 attacks on healthcare, leading to eight deaths and 18 injuries, impacting 21 facilities.

WHO said it delivered medicines and medical supplies in Sudan to the State Ministry of Health and partners in the states of Aj Jazirah, Gedaref, Kassala, Northern State and River Nile. More than 30 ton of additional emergency health supplies are heading to Wad Madani from Port Sudan.

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