Sudan Ceasefire at Risk as Clashes Erupt in Khartoum Region

A one-week ceasefire that had given rise to the greatest hope to date that Sudan’s warring factions would cease hostilities was again at risk, according to residents of Khartoum, where artillery fire could be heard, armored vehicles were patrolling, and warplanes were flying overhead.

Early on Tuesday, the first full day of the Saudi Arabian-US-brokered ceasefire supposed to permit the distribution of humanitarian aid, some other locals reported a somewhat quiet situation. After five weeks of intense combat between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the warring parties on Saturday agreed to a seven-day ceasefire intended to facilitate humanitarian delivery. The ceasefire started at 9:45 p.m. (19:45 GMT) on Monday.

Almost 1.1 million people have been displaced by the war, including more than 250,000 who have fled to neighbouring countries, endangering the stability of a volatile region, but expectations for a respite have been increased by the ceasefire agreement signed in talks in Jeddah.

“Our only hope is that the truce succeeds so that we can return to our normal life, feel safe, and go back to work again,” said Khartoum resident Atef Salah El-Din, 42.

Despite the fact that violence has continued during earlier ceasefires, this was the first one that was legally approved after negotiations. The monitoring system for the ceasefire accord, which was mediated by Saudi Arabia and the United States after discussions in Jeddah, comprises the army, the RSF, and representatives from those countries for the first time.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the monitoring mechanism would be “remote”, without giving details. “If the ceasefire is violated, we’ll know, and we will hold violators accountable through our sanctions and other tools at our disposal,” he said in a video message.
“The Jeddah talks have had a narrow focus. Ending violence and bringing assistance to the Sudanese people. A permanent resolution of this conflict will require much more,” he added.
The RSF made an audio message from its leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, just before the cease-fire was set to start. In it, he praised the US and Saudi Arabia but urged his troops to keep fighting until they won. He declared, “Until we put an end to this coup, we won’t withdraw.
At the beginning of the war on April 15, both sides accused one another of trying to seize control.
On Monday, the UN representative to Sudan issued a warning about the growing “ethnicization” of the military conflict and its possible effects on neighbouring states. “The growing ethnicisation of the conflict risks to expand and prolong it, with implications for the region,” Volker Perthes told a briefing at the UN Security Council.