The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary unit, have agreed to a 24-hour ceasefire to allow civilians to be evacuated as the battle between the two factions in Sudan enters its fourth day.
Following days of hostilities in the capital city of Khartoum and other regions of the country, both groups called a ceasefire on Tuesday, April 18.
The army leaders said the agreement was made after talks from US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, to each side following heavy fighting in Khartoum that saw gunfire fired at a US diplomatic vehicle.
Separate phone calls were held by Antony Blinken with the army chief and the head of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), whose power struggle has killed at least 185 people across the country and derailed an internationally supported plan to transition to civilian rule after decades of autocracy and military control.
General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, leader of the RSF, whose whereabouts have not been revealed since the combat began, stated the RSF agreed to the 24-hour ceasefire to ensure the safe passage of people and the evacuation of the wounded.
RSF has already been declared a rebel group by the Sudanese military and ordered its dissolution on Monday, formalizing an earlier declaration by the state intelligence services and the language used by the army to describe the RSF from the first day of fighting.
The confrontation in Sudan began when the RSF, which has close ties to ousted President Omar al-Bashir’s old administration, sought to gain control of government buildings including national radio station and airport.
Sudan’s official military, the SAF, responded by sending troops to defend the structures and restore order. It later declared that it had reclaimed some buildings, including the country’s broadcasting agency.
Civilians have been caught in the crossfire in the battle zone, with stories of homes and businesses being destroyed and innocent individuals being maimed or murdered.
The United Nations and other international communities have expressed concern over the situation, urging both parties to protect civilians and uphold human rights.
The 24-hour ceasefire is anticipated to provide relief to people caught up in the battle, many of whom have been trapped in their homes or have been unable to flee the city owing to the violence. The ceasefire will also allow people who require medical assistance or are in immediate danger to be evacuated.
Sudan’s conflict is complicated, with various organizations competing for power and control. The RSF, which was formed in 2013 to combat rebel groups in Darfur, has been accused of human rights violations and war crimes.
In contrast, the SAF is regarded as a more professional and disciplined force with tight ties to the transitional administration.
The disagreement between the SAF and the RSF shows the difficulties Sudan confronts in transitioning to a more democratic and stable system of governance.
The African community has also been watching the situation in Sudan closely and has expressed worry about the violence and its impact on people calling the parties involved to stop the violence.
The United States, the European Union, and other countries have urged all parties to engage in negotiation in order to find a peaceful settlement.
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