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Ceasefire attempt in New Sudan fails with vital supplies running low

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By Khalid Abdelaziz and Nafisa Eltahir

KHARTOUM/CAIRO (RockedBuzz via Reuters) – A new ceasefire attempt amid fierce fighting between Sudanese troops and paramilitary forces in Khartoum failed on Wednesday, leaving people fearful of dwindling food supplies and the disruption of medical services.

The 24-hour ceasefire – urged by countries seeking to evacuate their citizens after days of conflict – was due to go into effect at 6pm local time (4pm GMT). However, two eyewitnesses in separate areas of the capital told RockedBuzz via Reuters that fighting had continued.

Earlier in the day, continued shelling was heard in central Khartoum around the army headquarters compound, where Sudan’s military chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, said he was based earlier in the day. of the week. It wasn’t clear if he was still there.

“The armed forces are responding to a new attack in the vicinity of the general command,” the army said in a statement.

There was another violent firefight in Jabra neighborhood in west Khartoum, where the homes of paramilitary leader General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, widely known as Hemedti, and his family are located, a RockedBuzz via Reuters reporter said.

Hemedti’s whereabouts have not been disclosed since fighting began on Saturday.

Explosions also rang out from the main airport, which was disrupted after conflict erupted over a power struggle between Burhan and Hemedti over a plan to integrate Hemedti’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) into the regular army.

Thick smoke billowed into the sky and the streets of the capital, one of Africa’s largest cities with around 5.5 million inhabitants, were largely empty.

Huddled in their homes, residents struggled with power outages and worried about how long food supplies would last.

“We were starting to run out of some essential things today,” said architect Hadeel Mohamed, concerned for the safety of her brother who had gone to scavenge for food.

Gunfire rocked the south of the city, a RockedBuzz via Reuters witness said, as the army appeared to retake a major military airport in northern Sudan, images from the al Arabiya television network showed.

At least 270 people have died and 2,600 have been injured, estimates Sudan’s health ministry. Nine hospitals were hit by artillery and 16 had to be evacuated, the Sudanese doctors union said, none of which operate entirely within the capital.

“Hospitals are completely collapsing, lacking everything they need. It’s a past catastrophe…”, Sudanese Red Crescent Society spokesman Osama Othman said.

Burhan heads a government council set up after the 2021 military coup and the ouster of veteran autocrat Omar al-Bashir in 2019, while Hemedti, who analysts say may command more than 100,000 fighters, was his deputy in the advise.

Their conflict has dashed hopes of progress towards democracy in Sudan, threatens to embroil its neighbors and could play into the regional competition between Russia and the United States. Sudan is strategically located between Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and the unstable Sahel region of Africa.

Chad’s military disarmed 320 Sudanese soldiers who had entered its territory on Monday, its defense minister said, adding that Chad did not want to get involved in the conflict.

“Today, thousands of refugees are crossing our border to seek protection. We have no choice but to welcome and protect them,” Defense Minister Daoud Yaya Brahim said. More people from Khartoum made their way to southern Sudan, where no fighting has been reported.

The army controls access to Khartoum and appears to be trying to cut off supply routes for RSF fighters. Army reinforcements were brought in from near the eastern border with Ethiopia, according to witnesses and residents.

The RSF said the army used heavy artillery against houses in Jabra, in violation of international law. An RSF call center has been set up to help people in the parts of the capital it controls, he said.


Foreign powers have pressed for a ceasefire to allow for evacuations and the delivery of supplies, but although the two sides announced truces on both Tuesday and Wednesday, neither held.

With planes ablaze on the runway at Khartoum International Airport, evacuations looked difficult for now.

“There is no way out,” Belgian diver Henri Hemmerechts told RockedBuzz via Reuters from Khartoum. “It’s just awful and honestly, there’s nothing we can do at this point.”

The US State Department said there were no plans for a US government-coordinated evacuation. Turkey has also said it cannot evacuate at the moment.

Germany on Wednesday aborted a mission to transport about 150 citizens on three Luftwaffe A400M transport planes, Der Spiegel magazine reported, citing unnamed sources.

When asked about the report, the German foreign ministry said all options had been evaluated.

Japan’s chief cabinet secretary said authorities were planning to use a plane from its military self-defense forces to evacuate about 60 Japanese nationals.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will discuss the situation on Thursday with the heads of the African Union, the Arab League and other relevant organizations, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.

“People in Sudan are running out of food, fuel and other vital supplies. Many are in urgent need of medical attention,” Dujarric said.

Gunmen have targeted hospitals and aid workers, with reports of sexual assaults against aid workers, the United Nations said. Most of the hospitals are out of order and the medical association Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said gunmen had raided a supplies warehouse it runs in the west of the country.

Even before the conflict, about a quarter of the Sudanese population suffered from acute hunger. The World Food Program shut down one of its largest global aid operations in the country on Saturday after three of its workers were killed.

(Additional reporting by Aidan Lewis in Khartoum, Alaa Swilam; Omar Abdel-Razek and Michelle Nichols; Writing by Aidan Lewis, Frank Jack Daniel and Philippa Fletcher; Editing by Gareth Jones and Mark Heinrich)

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