Fighting rages in Sudan but mediators report ceasefire progress

Sudan’s warring factions are better adhering to a fragile ceasefire, despite reports of heavy fighting in Darfur.

Sudan’s warring factions would better adhere to a fragile ceasefire, despite reports of fierce fighting between rival forces in the western region of Darfur.

The army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) began a seven-day ceasefire on Monday to allow access to aid and services following fighting since mid-April that left hundreds dead and sparked a humanitarian and refugee crisis.

War broke out in the capital Khartoum on April 15 after disputes over plans to integrate the RSF into the military as part of an internationally backed deal to shift Sudan to democracy after decades of conflict-ridden rule by former President Omar al- Bashir.

About 1.3 million people have fled their homes, either across the border or within the vast country. The Health Ministry has said at least 730 people were killed, while the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project puts that figure at more than 1,800.

Despite a drop in fighting, reports of skirmishes, artillery fire and airstrikes continued throughout the week. The ceasefire was violated just minutes after it came into effect Monday night.

“Although military aircraft and isolated gunfire were used in Khartoum, the situation improved from May 24 when the ceasefire monitoring mechanism detected significant violations of the agreement,” a statement from Saudi America said.

Saudi and US representatives “warned the parties of further violations and implored them to improve respect for the May 25 ceasefire, which they did,” the statement said.

While civilians, aid groups and mediators pleaded for an end to the fighting, the Sudanese defense ministry issued a call to take up arms.

In a statement on Friday, it called on “retirees from the army … as well as all those who can bear arms” to go to the nearest military commando unit and “arm themselves to protect themselves”, their families and their neighbors .

The week-long ceasefire is the latest in a series of agreements that have all been systematically violated, with the military and RSF accusing each other of more violations this week.

The United States and Saudi Arabia, which brokered the latest deal, reported “serious violations” since its entry into force, particularly on Wednesday.

Washington has threatened sanctions for breaches discovered by its “surveillance mechanism” but has not yet targeted either side.

Increasingly desperate civilians are waiting for brief lulls in the fighting to flee or help to move on as fighting has left the capital – a city of five million – with intermittent supplies of food, water and electricity.

Conditions are particularly bad in Darfur, on the western border with Chad, a region already ravaged by a brutal two-decade war that broke out in 2003. overnight in el-Fasher, the capital of the state of North Darfur.

Zalingei and el-Geneina have suffered a communication breakdown during militia attacks.

Nyala residents said calm had returned after days of fighting, although the water was still cut off.