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Saudi Arabia and US say factions in Sudan post escalation

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By Khalid Abdelaziz

DUBAI (RockedBuzz via Reuters) – Saudi Arabia and the United States on Sunday called for an extension of a ceasefire deal that has brought some respite to a six-week war between military factions, but said both sides had thwarted aid efforts and have poised for further escalation.

Clashes erupted overnight and Sunday in the capital Khartoum, residents said, while human rights monitors reported deadly fighting in El Fashir, a major city in western Darfur.

The conflict between the Sudanese Army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) that erupted on 15 April has left the capital wracked by heavy battles, lawlessness and a collapse in services, displacing nearly 1.4 million people from their homes and threatening to destabilize the region.

A week-long ceasefire brokered in Saudi Arabia and US-led talks in Jeddah are expected to last until Monday evening.

Both countries are monitoring the truce remotely and have called on the military and RSF to renew the “imperfectly observed” ceasefire to allow for humanitarian work.

“There have been violations by both sides that have significantly hampered the delivery of humanitarian assistance and the restoration of essential services,” Saudi Arabia and the United States said in a joint statement.


The statement cited violations of the truce, including air strikes and the seizure of medical supplies by the army, and the occupation of civilian buildings and looting by the RSF.

“Both sides have told facilitators that their goal is de-escalation to facilitate humanitarian assistance and essential reparations, but both sides are gearing up for further escalation,” he said.

The RSF said it was ready to discuss the possibility of renewal and that it will continue to monitor the truce “to test the seriousness and commitment of the other party to proceed or not with the renewal of the agreement”.

The Army said it was discussing the possibility of an extension.

Nearly 350,000 people have crossed into Sudan’s borders since fighting erupted, with the largest number heading north into Egypt from Khartoum or west into Chad from Darfur.

In Khartoum, factories, offices, homes and banks have been looted or destroyed. Electricity, water and telecommunications are frequently disrupted, there are severe shortages of medicines and medical equipment, and food supplies are running low.

“We left due to the impact of the war. I have children and I fear for them due to lack of medical care,” a resident of the capital, 29-year-old Samia Suleiman, told RockedBuzz via Reuters on her way to Egypt.

“I also want my children to have the opportunity to go to school. I don’t think things in Khartoum will recover anytime soon.”


The truce agreement brought some respite from the heavy fighting, but sporadic clashes and air attacks continued.

The United Nations and humanitarian groups say that, despite the truce, they have struggled to obtain bureaucratic approvals and security guarantees to transport aid and personnel to Khartoum and other places of need. The warehouses have been looted.

There have been growing reports of gender-based violence, particularly by internally displaced people in Sudan, the United Nations humanitarian office said in a statement.

Violence has flared in several parts of Darfur already marked by conflict and displacement, with hundreds of deaths recorded in El Geneina near the border with Chad during attacks that residents have attributed to “Janjaweed” militias drawn from nomadic Arab tribes with links with the RSF.

Darfur governor Minni Minawi, a former rebel whose faction fought against militias in the Darfur conflict, said in a tweet that citizens should take up arms to defend their property.

Clashes have also broken out in recent days in El Fashir, the capital of the state of North Darfur.

A hospital in El Fashir recorded three dead and 26 injured on Saturday, including children, according to the Darfur Bar Association, an activist group. Many more people were missing, he said.

Across the country, the health ministry said at least 730 people had died in the fighting, though the true figure is likely much higher. He separately recorded up to 510 deaths at El Geneina.

(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Frances Kerry and Bernadette Baum)

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