Fri, May 26, 2023 2:37 PM
CAIRO (AP) — Saudi Arabia and the United States said Friday the warring sides in Sudan's conflict are adhering better to a new, weeklong cease-fire following days of sporadic fighting.
The truce, brokered by Riyadh and Washington, went into effect on Monday, but fighting continued in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum and the western Darfur region. Particularly intense clashes flared up on Wednesday, the two mediators said in a joint statement.
The conflict in Sudan erupted in mid-April after months of escalating tensions between the military, led by Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces, a powerful paramilitary commanded by Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. The conflict has killed at least 863 civilians, including at least 190 children, according to the most recent numbers from the Sudanese Doctors’ Syndicate.
The latest, weeklong cease-fire is the seventh attempt at a truce after the others were violated.
A new cross-party committee tasked with monitoring potential violations observed Wednesday the “use of artillery and military aircraft and drones, credible reports of airstrikes, sustained fighting" in Khartoum and Darfur.
Amid the reported calm on Thursday, humanitarian missions were able on to deliver "urgently needed medical supplies to several locations in Sudan,” the joint statement said. Efforts were also underway to restore telecommunications services in Khartoum and other areas of the country, it said.
On Friday, Khartoum residents reported only sporadic gunfire. However, the Sudanese Defense Ministry issued a statement calling on all non-commissioned and retired officers under 65 to re-enlist. It remains unclear if the call-up is mandatory.
Earlier in the day, Sudan TV had broadcast a military statement asking former soldiers and men capable of fighting to head to the nearest military command to arm themselves for their own self-protection.
Over the past six weeks, looting has become widespread across many Khartoum districts, which are also without water and electricity.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has warned both parties of possible sanctions if the latest cease-fire was not adhered to.
The United Nations says that more than a million Sudanese have been internally displaced, while some 300,000 have fled to neighboring countries. The conflict has pushed the East African country to the brink of collapse, with urban areas of Khartoum and its adjacent city of Omdurman disintegrating into battlegrounds.
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Friday that the World Food Program has 60,000 people with food and nutrition since restarting distributions — including some 180,000 in Darfur. The WFP plans to start distributions also in central Darfur in the coming days and resumed aid in the Blue Nile state on Friday, he said.
Dujarric said the World Health Organization has verified eight attacks on health care facilities during the past two weeks, bringing the total to 38 health care facilities attacked since fighting erupted in mid-April.
Riyadh and Washington called on the Sudanese military and the RSF to continue to respect the cease-fire.