| 19 June 2024, Wednesday |

Fighting escalates in Khartoum after ceasefire expires

Residents of Sudan’s capital Khartoum reported a sharp escalation of clashes in several areas of the capital on Sunday after the expiry of a ceasefire deal between rival military factions brokered by Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Witnesses also said a military plane had crashed in Omdurman, one of three cities around the confluence of the Nile that make up the greater capital region.

There was no immediate comment from the army, which has been using fighter jets to target the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) spread out across the capital in a conflict that erupted on April 15, triggering a major humanitarian crisis.

Saudi Arabia and the U.S. said they were continuing to engage daily with delegations from the army and the RSF, which had remained in Jeddah even though talks to extend the ceasefire were suspended last week.

“Those discussions are focused on facilitating humanitarian assistance and reaching agreement on near-term steps the parties must take before the Jeddah talks resume,” the two countries said in a joint statement.

The ceasefire deal started on May 22 and expired on Saturday evening. It had led to some decrease in the intensity of fighting and limited humanitarian access, but like previous truce deals it was repeatedly violated.

Among the areas where fighting was reported on Sunday were central and southern Khartoum, and Bahri, across the Blue Nile to the north.

“In southern Khartoum we are living in terror of violent bombardment, the sound of anti-aircraft guns and power cuts. We are in real hell,” said 34-year-old resident Sara Hassan.

Beyond the capital, deadly fighting has also broken out in the remote western region of Darfur, already scarred by a long-running conflict and huge humanitarian challenges.

The seven-week conflict has displaced some 1.2 million people within the country and caused another 400,000 to flee into neighbouring countries.

  • Reuters