The rival factions in Sudan continue to clash despite the ceasefire in the capital city of Khartoum, on Wednesday (May 24), reported Reuters citing residents. This comes amid fears that the fighting could break the fragile United States-Saudi Arabia brokered weeklong ceasefire deal. Meanwhile, the International Organization for Migration (IMO) said that more than one million people have been displaced within the country since the fighting began over a month ago.
US and Saudi Arabia
The weeklong ceasefire which is being monitored by the US and Saudi Arabia was off to a shaky start after witnesses since late Monday in the capital, Khartoum, have been reporting fighter jets over the city and continued fighting in some areas. Meanwhile, the observers from the two countries noted that the “fighting in Khartoum appeared to be less intense”.
The agreement came after the warring Sudanese army and paramilitary faction Rapid Support Forces (RSF) had previously violated multiple ceasefire agreements. Washington and Riyadh addressing the reports said there is some indication that “both sides violated the agreement” but stressed that the efforts to deliver “lifesaving assistance” to the people of Sudan are underway.
‘Heartbreaking’: UN Human Rights chief about Sudan
According to recent data from Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), more than 1,800 people have lost their lives since the fighting began on April 15. The conflict has also worsened the country’s humanitarian crisis as over a million people have been forced to flee their homes.
The IMO, on Wednesday, said 319,000 people have sought refuge in neighbouring countries out of which, over 132,000 refugees arrived in Egypt; 80,000 in Chad; and 69,000 in South Sudan. “In spite of successive ceasefires, civilians continue to be exposed to serious risk of death and injury,” said UN Human Rights chief Volker Turk.
He also called the situation in Sudan “heartbreaking,” at a press briefing in Geneva and went on to address the two warring generals directly and said, “General (Abdel Fattah) al-Burhan, General (Mohamed Hamdan) Dagalo, you must issue clear instructions, in no uncertain terms to all those under your command, that there is zero tolerance for sexual violence…civilians must be spared and you must stop this senseless violence now.”
Turk also said that his office has found at least 25 cases of sexual violence so far but believes that the real number is much higher.
Fighting continues with some respite
Columns of black smoke could be seen rising into the air in areas west of central Khartoum, while witnesses told Reuters, on Wednesday that there was shelling near an army camp in the southern part of the capital city.
In Omdurman, witnesses said that an army fighter plane had been shot down, the footage of which appeared on social media but could not independently be verified. Additionally, gunfire was heard in the Jabra neighbourhood of southern Khartoum.
Ali Mohammed, a resident of the Sudanese capital city, as per AFP said that the water supply had not been restored as of Wednesday “but at least I was able to go out and buy water for my family”.
Another resident, 55-year-old, Mohammed Taher, said he was finally able to go to the city’s central market “five kilometres away to buy food and return without incident”.
(With inputs from agencies)
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