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Sudan updates: Fighting continues after cease-fire agreed

April 18, 2023

Explosions shook the capital, Khartoum, hours after rival sides in the conflict agreed to a one-day pause in fighting. The truce came after top diplomats called for an end to the hostilities. DW has more.

A view of vehicles of damaged after clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces
Despite a ceasefire, heavy fighting continues between Sudan's army and the paramilitary RSFImage: Omer Erdem/AA/picture alliance

Fighting continued in Sudan late Tuesday, despite an agreement between warring parties to observe a 24-hour cease-fire.

Arabic language television news Al-Arabiya and Al-Jazeera cited top military officer Shams El Din Kabbashi as saying that the army would comply with the truce.

But hours after the halt in fighting was due to commence, gunfire could still be heard throughout the capital, Khartoum. 

"We have not received any indications here that there’s been a halt in the fighting," United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric told a news briefing in New York.

Warplanes could still be seen in skies above Khartoum, and several witnesses reported a large army ground force entering the city from the east.

The announcement of an agreed cease-fire initially came from the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which is battling the Sudanese army.

Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the head of the RSF, said they agreed to a cease-fire to ensure safety of civilians but that the Sudanese armed forces "failed to honor" the agreement.

Millions of Sudanese in capital Khartoum and in other major cities have been hiding in their homes, caught in the crossfire as the Sudanese army and the RSF pounded residential areas with artillery and airstrikes and engaged in gun battles in the street. 

Earlier Tuesday, United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he spoken to leaders of rival armed forces in Sudan and urged an immediate cease-fire, the State Department said.

Blinken "expressed his grave concern about the death and injury of so many Sudanese civilians due to the sustained, indiscriminate fighting," State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said.

A cease-fire would "permit the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those affected by the fighting, the reunification of Sudanese families, and allow the international community in Khartoum to make sure its presence is secure," Patel said.

Here are some of other notable developments concerning the conflict in Sudan on Tuesday, April 18: 

WHO: 270 killed in fighting

The clashes between the rival armed forces in Sudan has killed 270 people and injured 2,600, the World Health Organization said Tuesday.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of WHO, said he condenms "all loss of life and we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Sudan."

The aid that the WHO distributed to health facilities before the fighting has now been used up, he said. Since fighting is still ongoing, it was impossible to organize further supplies, he added.

Hospitals in the capital Khartoum do not have enough material to treat the injured, Tedros said.

NGO official in Sudan: Long-term cease-fire needed immediately

DW spoke with Arshad Malik, the Sudan country director for Save the Children, who is located in the city of Khartoum.

He said that they have received reports of a cease-fire agreement, but "we have not seen any official announcement."

A long-term cease-fire is the most important thing that is needed, particularly to secure the well-being of children and other civilians on the ground.

The situation on the ground in the capital "is relatively quiet" compared to when the conflict erupted on Saturday, but fighting is still continuing in some areas.

"There were some aircrafts shooting overhead and we heard some artillery shelling and we heard some gunshots," Malik told DW.

"Our office in one of the states, Darfur, was looted by unknown armed actors. We also have reports that armed men are occupying various residential buildings."

Sudan rivals battle for control as civilians take cover

His organization has received reports of electricity cuts, water shortages and some medical shortages.

"We were in touch with the Ministry of Health. They have definitely mentioned a shortage of supplies when it comes to plastic bags for blood and also some critical supplies for hospitals," Malik said.

While international intervention from the United Nations, Arab League and others is welcome, Malik also urged for a solution to first be found among the conflicting parties in Sudan.

"International intervention might help, but the solution is available locally. The local leaders should agree between themselves for the people of Sudan," he said.

More than 180 killed in fighting

Fierce clashes erupted over the weekend between forces loyal to Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan's transitional governing Sovereign Council, and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) head Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, who is deputy head of the council. 

At least 185 people have been killed and more than 1,800 injured so far.

Al-Burhan has not spoken publicly since Saturday afternoon, when he accused the RSF of an attack and stressed that he had the situation under control.

G7 urges Sudan's warring parties to lay down arms

Foreign ministers of the G7 countries called on the warring parties to "immediately" halt fighting

"We urge the parties to end hostilities immediately without pre-conditions. We call on all actors to renounce violence, return to negotiations, and take active steps to reduce tensions and ensure the safety of all civilians, including diplomatic and humanitarian  personnel."

On Monday, United Nations (UN) envoy Volker Perthes said clashes have spread across Sudan.

"The two sides who are fighting are not giving the impression that they want mediation for a peace between them right away," Perthes told reporters by video link from Khartoum.

There are concerns the turmoil could spill across borders and destabilize the fragile region.

Egypt's el-Sissi denies interference in conflict 

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi said late on Monday Egyptian troops in Sudan were merely there to conduct exercises with their Sudanese counterparts and not to support any of the warring parties.

After clashes erupted across Sudan, the RSF shared a video they said showed Egyptian troops who had "surrendered" to them in the northern town of Merowe.

El-Sissi also said Egypt was in regular contact with the Sudanese army and the RSF to encourage them to reach a cease-fire agreement.

rm, lo/wd (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

UN chief calls for Sudan ceasefire