© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Smoke rises above buildings after an aerial bombardment, during clashes between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and the army in Khartoum North, Sudan, May 1, 2023. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah
By Khalid Abdelaziz
DUBAI (Reuters) – Sporadic clashes between Sudan’s army and a paramilitary force spilled over into Thursday, puncturing the relative calm in the capital Khartoum and raising the risk of a week-long truce deal crumbling as concerns grew over a humanitarian crisis.
The ceasefire, monitored by Saudi Arabia and the United States, was reached after five weeks of warfare in Khartoum and outbursts of fighting in other parts of Sudan, including the long-volatile western region of Darfur.
The fighting – centred on a power struggle between Sudan’s army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) – has worsened a humanitarian crisis, forced more than 1.3 million people to flee and threatened to destabilise a fragile region.
The army relies on air power while the RSF has spread out and taken cover in Khartoum’s streets.
It is unclear whether either side has gained an edge in recent weeks. Clashes between the rival factions broke out again on Thursday in Khartoum and neighbouring Omdurman, eyewitnesses said, as well as the strategic city of El Obeid to the southwest.
The health ministry said some 730 people had been killed and 5,454 injured, though the real number is likely much higher.
Militia were also besieging Zalingei, capital of Central Darfur State, a U.N. Darfur coordinator Toby Harward said. Telecommunications have been cut off and gangs roaming the city on motorcycles have attacked hospitals, government and aid offices, banks and homes, he added.
The same has happened in the West Darfur State capital El Geneina, where residents have been out of touch for days after as many as 510 people were killed.
The ceasefire was agreed on Saturday following talks in Jeddah. Previous truces have failed to stop the fighting. In statements late on Wednesday, the army and RSF accused each other of violating the agreement and launching attacks.
Reuters could not confirm the battlefield accounts.
World Food Programme Executive-Director Cindy McCain said there was a need for increased public and private sector funding for relief.
“In the meantime, the conflict has to stop and we need help from the world community to make just that happen, otherwise we are going to lose another generation of Sudanese,”…
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