Respect Eid Al-Fitr, RSF Troops Agree to 72 Hours Truce in Sudan. PHOTO/Reuters
KHARTOUM – Paramilitary groups Sudan Rapid Support Force (RSF), has agreed ceasefire 72 hours on humanitarian grounds starting at 6am (0400 GMT) on Friday (21/4/2023). This ceasefire agreement coincided with the Eid al-Fitr holiday.
Despite a ceasefire agreement, in fact the capital of Sudan, Khartoum, was rocked by bombings and shootings on Friday morning. There was no immediate comment from the army and its leader, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.
“The ceasefire coincides with the blessed Eid al-Fitr, to open up humanitarian corridors to evacuate residents and give them a chance to greet their families,” RSF said in a statement, as quoted by Reuters.
Fighting between the RSF and the Sudanese army erupted over the weekend, derailing internationally-backed plans for a transition to civil democracy four years after the fall of Islamist autocrat Omar al-Bashir to mass protests and two years after a military coup.
RSF said it had to act in “self-defence” to expel what it described as a coup attempt, adding that it was committed to a “full truce” during the truce period.
At least 350 people were killed in the power struggle between the two formerly allied military junta leaders, army chief Burhan and RSF leader General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.
The conflict has dashed hopes of progress towards democracy in Sudan, risks upsetting its neighbors and could lead to regional rivalries between Russia and the United States. RSF has previously condemned the military for what it said were new attacks.
“At this time, as residents were preparing to welcome the first day of Eid al-Fitr, Khartoum neighborhoods woke up due to heavy aircraft and artillery bombardments in massive attacks directly targeting residential neighborhoods,” RSF said.
Earlier, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called for a ceasefire to allow civilians to reach safety.
Thousands of civilians streamed out of Khartoum as gunfire and explosions were heard on Thursday. Large numbers have also crossed into Chad to escape fighting in the western region of Darfur.