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21 Apr, 2023 13:05

Sudanese paramilitary commits to three-day ceasefire

The Rapid Support Forces say the truce is in respect to the Eid Al-Fitr celebration, and to pave the way for the evacuation of citizens
Sudanese paramilitary commits to three-day ceasefire

Sudanese paramilitary group, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), declared a three-day ceasefire on Friday after previous attempts to halt the fighting, which had continued for the past seven days, had failed.

We agreed to a humanitarian truce for a period of 72 hours, starting from six o’clock this morning. We note that the truce coincides with the blessed Eid Al-Fitr and to open humanitarian corridors to evacuate citizens,” the RSF said in a statement.

While expressing condolences to citizens for the “innocent lives lost” in the clashes, the group affirmed its “commitment, during the period of the declared armistice, to a complete ceasefire”.

The RSF further warned against the “continuous transgressions” of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) “in not adhering to the declared armistice.” It remains uncertain whether the rival SAF will observe the truce, as it has not provided any indication of its intention to do so.

On Thursday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an immediate ceasefire “for at least three days, marking the Eid al-Fitr celebrations, to allow civilians trapped in conflict zones to escape and to seek medical treatment, food, and other essential supplies.”

He emphasized that a temporary cessation of hostilities must be the first step toward ending the violence and paving the way for a permanent ceasefire. Guterres additionally called for “serious dialogue allowing for a successful transition, starting with the appointment of a civilian government.

The RSF has accused the SAF of being led by extremist terrorists who want to stymie the country’s political process and obstruct the return to democracy. However, SAF General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan stated on Friday that the military remains committed to a transition to civilian rule. “We are confident that we will overcome this ordeal with our training, wisdom and strength, preserving the security and unity of the state, allowing us to be entrusted with the safe transition to civilian rule,” the army chief said in a video message released to mark the Muslim Eid al-Fitr celebration.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 400 people, including nine children, have been killed and at least 3,500 others injured in the Sudan conflict since it began last Saturday as an outcome of a power struggle between RSF General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo and his rival, Burhan.

Despite the 72-hour ceasefire, media reports suggest that fierce clashes are continuing, with heavy gunfire and explosions heard in Khartoum and other cities.