An uneasy truce appeared to be holding in Sudan on Tuesday as process to evacuate foreigners continued in the eleventh day of the fighting in the African country.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the 72-hour truce had been agreed between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) after 48 hours of negotiations.
The latest ceasefire attempt started at midnight (22:00 GMT on Monday). It is the fourth effort to stop the fighting which began on 15 April, with previous truces not observed.
At least 459 people have died in the conflict so far, though the actual number is thought to be much higher.
The RSF has accused the army of violating the truce by “continuing to attack Khartoum with planes”.
We reiterate our complete commitment to the 72-hour truce that aims to open up humanitarian corridors.
However, the Sudanese army has violated the ceasefire by continuing to attack Khartoum by planes, which is a clear breach of the ceasefire agreement. This… pic.twitter.com/kfgXFclw33
— Rapid Support Forces – قوات الدعم السريع (@RSFSudan) April 25, 2023
Meanwhile, an army spokesperson has told Sky News Arabia that the RSF was responsible for “storming prisons” following reports of gunfire at Port Sudan.
بالرغم من سريان الهدنة لمدة ٧٢ ساعة التى وافقت عليها القوات المسلحة إلا أننا نرصد الكثير من الخروقات التي تقوم بها المليشيا المتمردة منذ الساعات الأولى من صباح اليوم والتي تتمثل في الآتي: pic.twitter.com/JkXtKeKbCe
— القوات المسلحة السودانية – الإعلام العسكري (@GHQSudan) April 25, 2023
In the past few days, tens of thousands of people, including Sudanese and foreign nationals, have fled to Egypt, Chad and South Sudan.
The United States and European, Middle Eastern, African and Asian nations launched emergency missions to bring to safety their embassy staff and Sudan-based citizens by road, air and sea.
For his part, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned that Sudan was on “the edge of the abyss” and the violence “could engulf the whole region and beyond”.
In other developments, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned there is a “high risk of biological hazard” after fighters seized a laboratory believed to be holding samples of diseases including polio and measles.
Commenting on the truce, the International Committee of the Red Cross welcomed the ceasefire as a “potential lifesaver for civilians” trapped in their homes in fighting-hit areas.
“It’s clear that this ceasefire must be implemented up and down the chain of command and that it must hold for it to give a real respite to civilians suffering from the fighting,” said Patrick Youssef, ICRC’s regional director for Africa.