Truce extended in Sudan but fighting continues

Two warring parties in Sudan on Thursday said they would prolong a ceasefire agreement by 72 hours, but violence again rocked the capital Khartoum and the western region of Darfur as the US said ceasefire violations were worrying.

Over the past two weeks of conflict between the army and its rival, the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), hundreds have died and tens of thousands of people have fled for their lives.

The two factions toppled a civilian government in an October 2021 coup but are now locked in a power struggle that has derailed an internationally backed transition to democracy and is threatening to destabilize a fragile region.

The RSF said on Thursday it too approved another 72-hour truce starting Friday, Reuters reported.

The news was welcomed by the United Nations, the African Union, the African trade bloc IGAD and the so-called quad countries of the US, U.K., Saudi Arabia and UAE.

“We also welcome their readiness to engage in dialogue toward establishing a more durable cessation of hostilities and ensuring unimpeded humanitarian access,” they said in a joint statement.

The army said it controls most of Sudan’s regions and is defeating a large RSF deployment in Khartoum where some residential areas have turned into war zones.

Despite a partial pause in fighting since the first 72-hour ceasefire started, air strikes and anti-aircraft fire could be heard on Thursday in the capital and the nearby cities of Omdurman and Bahri, Reuters reported, quoting witnesses and its journalists said.

The White House said it was deeply concerned by the ceasefire violations. It added that the situation could worsen at any moment and urged US citizens to leave within 24 to 48 hours.

The ceasefire is extended at a time that evacuations of foreign nationals from Sudan are underway and meanwhile, the residents of the Sudanese capital are fearing to face a lack of food amidst the conflict.

Taliban-run Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Afghanistan said on Thursday that a number of Afghanistan nationals have been evacuated from Sudan with the help of Saudi Arabia. At least 120 Afghanistan nationals lived in Sudan, according to the ministry.