The Sudanese army and paramilitary group RSF have pledged to halt their fighting for three hours every afternoon starting today to allow UN staff to do their jobs on “urgent humanitarian matters”. Earlier today, the UN World Food Program announced it would temporarily suspend emergency aid to the African country after the death of three employees in gunfights.
But despite the promise, eyewitnesses say fighting continues.
Since yesterday, a fierce battle has been raging between two rival groups within the armed forces of Sudan. The government army is fighting against the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led by General and Vice President Mohamed Hamden Dagalo, better known as Hemedti, which wants to take power. It is still unclear who is winning.
Earlier today, the Sudanese military and the RSF thus approved a UN proposal to ensure safe passage for UN staff so that they can resume humanitarian aid. At 4 p.m. local time each day, fighting would cease for three hours. The army added that it will respond if “the militias violate the agreement”.
Africa correspondent Elles van Gelder has contact with eyewitnesses who say that the fighting continues, despite the promise.
Doctors report that at least 61 civilians and dozens of military personnel have been killed. Many hundreds of people have been injured by the outbreak of violence. Hospitals cannot cope with the influx of victims, says the Red Cross of Sudan. The injured are therefore also taken to other places for treatment.
In particular, the capital Khartoum is fiercely contested. The RSF claims to have captured key military and civilian sites. Yesterday, the group claimed to have occupied the presidential palace – but the other camp denies these claims.
The army actually claims that it has captured several RSF bases. These would include the headquarters in Khartoum and a base near the coastal town of Port Sudan on the Red Sea. During these conquests a lot of equipment would have been captured.
Watch footage of the battle here:
It is unclear how many Dutch people are staying in Sudan. The embassy is in contact with fifty compatriots. “We know that there are also many Sudanese Dutch people, some of whom are not in Sudan because of Ramadan and the upcoming Sugar Fest,” says a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She calls on Dutch people residing in Sudan to register with an online information desk of the ministry.
The travel advice for Sudan is red. The situation is very unsafe and unpredictable, the ministry reports in a message.
“We do not know how long this unsafe situation will last. Take into account a longer stay inside. Therefore, make an inventory of your food stock and other necessary resources. Be careful with this. You cannot leave the country. The airport is still closed.”
Fighter jets carry out bombing raids on RSF positions. Negotiations with insurgents are out of the question, the army said in a statement. In turn, the RSF says to continue fighting until the group has complete control.
Generals in the clinch
RSF leader Hemedti is one of the military leaders who took part in the 2021 coup when Hemedti was appointed deputy to President Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. But the two generals are at odds over how the RSF should become part of the government army. This power struggle has now turned into an internal conflict fought with heavy weapons.
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