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Heavy gunfire quickly shatters US-promoted truce in Sudan

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By Khalid Abdelaziz, Nafisa Eltahir and Humeyra Pamuk

KHARTOUM (RockedBuzz via Reuters) – Heavy gunfire shattered a 24-hour truce in Sudan on Tuesday, shortly after it was due to come into effect as US pressure on warring military factions to stop the fighting it sparked a humanitarian crisis.

Loud gunfire echoed in the background of live Arab television news feeds in the Khartoum capital region minutes after the agreed start of the ceasefire at 6pm (4pm GMT).

Warplanes rumbled in the skies above Khartoum, a RockedBuzz via Reuters reporter heard tanks firing shortly after the truce began and a resident told RockedBuzz via Reuters he heard an airstrike in progress on Omdurman, Khartoum’s sister city on the opposite bank of the River Nile. Several witnesses reported that a large army ground force entered the city from the east.

The regular army and rival paramilitary rapid support (RSF) forces have released statements accusing each other of not respecting the ceasefire. The army high command said it would continue operations to secure the capital and other regions.

“We have received no indication here that there has been a halt in the fighting,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said at a news conference in New York.

Conflict between Sudan’s military leader and his deputy on Sudan’s ruling council erupted four days ago, derailing an internationally backed plan for a transition to a civilian democracy four years after the fall of Islamist autocrat Omar al -Bashir due to mass protests and a military coup two years later.

The fighting triggered what the United Nations has described as a humanitarian catastrophe, including the near collapse of the health system. The United Nations World Food Program suspended operations after three of its employees were killed.

At least 185 people have been killed in the conflict.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaking in Japan, said on Tuesday that he had telephoned both army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and RSF leader General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo asking for a ceasefire. fire “to allow the Sudanese to safely reunite with their families” and to give them relief.

The fighting appeared to abate as the ceasefire expired, which coincided with the evening breaking of the daily fast during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.


Earlier in the day, the sounds of warplanes and explosions echoed throughout Khartoum. Residents in the nearby cities of Omdurman and Bahri reported air strikes that rocked buildings and anti-aircraft fire. Fighting was also raging in the west of the country, the United Nations said.

In the video verified by RockedBuzz via Reuters, RSF fighters could be seen inside a section of the army headquarters in Khartoum. Fighters do not appear to control the sprawling site, a RockedBuzz via Reuters reporter in the capital said.

Burhan heads a government council set up after the 2021 military coup and ousting of Bashir in 2019, while Dagalo – better known as Hemedti – is his deputy on the government council.

Their power struggle has stalled plans for a transition to civilian rule after decades of autocracy and military dominance in Sudan, which sits at a strategic crossroads between Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and Africa’s volatile Sahel region.

Unless controlled, the violence also risks attracting actors from Sudan’s neighborhood who have supported different factions and could compete for regional influence between Russia and the United States.


Fighters attacked aid workers, hospitals and diplomats, including a European Union ambassador who was attacked in his home.

UN aid chief Martin Griffiths said aid workers and facilities continue to be targeted in Sudan and that the United Nations was “receiving reports of attacks and sexual assaults against aid workers”.

“This is unacceptable and must stop,” Griffiths wrote on Twitter, adding that the UN humanitarian office in South Darfur was also ransacked on Monday.

Three World Food Program workers were killed in Saturday’s fighting, and a United Nations plane was caught in crossfire at Khartoum International Airport.

Blinken said a US convoy was attacked despite its vehicles being marked with diplomatic plates and carrying US flags. Initial reports suggest the attack was carried out by forces associated with RSF, he said, calling the action “reckless”. Blinken said all US personnel were safe after the crash.

After the call with Blinken, Hemedti said that RSF approved the ceasefire to ensure the safe passage of civilians and the evacuation of the wounded.

In a Twitter post, he said he and Blinken “discussed pressing matters” and more talks were planned. The RSF issued a statement saying it was waging a battle to restore “the rights of our people” in what it called a new revolution.

A previous shorter ceasefire agreed for Sunday has been largely ignored. Artillery salvos, fighter jet strikes and street fighting made travel to Khartoum nearly impossible, trapping locals and foreigners alike in their homes.

The main international airport was attacked, blocking commercial flights.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said it was nearly impossible to provide humanitarian services in the capital. He warned that Sudan’s health system was at risk of collapse.

The outbreak of fighting followed growing tensions over a plan to integrate the RSF into the regular army.

Discord over the timetable for that process delayed the signing of the framework agreement to start a civil transition that was due to be signed earlier this month.

Fighting has gripped several parts of the country since Saturday, including the western desert region of Darfur, which borders Chad and has suffered from war since 2003 that has killed up to 300,000 people and displaced 2.7 million.

(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz in Khartoum, Nafisa Eltahir and Hatem Maher in Cairo, Humeyra Pamuk in Tokyo and Claudia Tanos in Dubai; texts by Frank Jack Daniel and Mark Heinrich; editing by Christina Fincher, Alex Richardson and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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