In conjunction with news about an extension of the truce in Sudan between the Sudanese army and the “rapid support” forces, gunshots were heard in the capital, Khartoum, this evening.
Gunshots were heard in the Sudanese capital on Sunday, as the United States and Saudi Arabia called for an extension of the truce, which expires Monday evening, despite it being repeatedly violated since it began at the weekend.
“We hear gunfire in the south of the city,” a resident of Khartoum told AFP on Sunday.
Since April 15, the conflict between the army led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo has resulted in hundreds of deaths, more than a million internally displaced people, and more than 300,000 others seeking refuge in neighboring countries.
The two sides accuse each other of violating the armistice, which was supposed to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid and the opening of safe passages for civilians.
According to ACLED data, the death toll since the outbreak of the fighting has reached 1,800 people, most of whom were killed in the capital and in the city of El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur state.
With the violence continuing, analysts fear a renewed civil war in Darfur (west), especially after the regional governor, Minni Minawi, called on citizens to take up arms.
Minawi wrote on his Twitter account on Sunday, “I call on all our honorable citizens, the people of Darfur, old and young, women and men, to take up arms to protect their property.”
Demands to extend the armistice
Meanwhile, the United States and Saudi Arabia called on both sides of the conflict in Sudan to “extend the current ceasefire to give humanitarian representatives more time to carry out their vital work,” according to a joint statement by Riyadh and Washington Sunday.
In their statement, the two mediators called on the Sudanese army to “stop the aerial bombardment” and the Rapid Support Forces to leave residential areas, as this “facilitates the provision of much-needed assistance to the Sudanese.”
And the RSF expressed, through its Twitter account, “its willingness to negotiate an extension of the ceasefire,” stressing that this depends on “the sincerity and commitment of the other party (the army) to extend the agreement or not.”
The United Nations indicated that some civilians, tribal militants and rebels joined the current conflict.
According to data from the Small Arms Survey (SAS), 6.6% of Sudan’s population of about 45 million has weapons.
The army is currently seeking to strengthen its ranks. The Ministry of Defense has called on reservists and retired army soldiers to arm themselves.
The RSF called the call a “dangerous decision” and accused the army of launching more air strikes in violation of the truce.
Sudanese activist Rajaa Makkawi said that there are “people belonging to non-violent movements who are now considering taking up arms to protect themselves.”
African road map
On Saturday, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, in a letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, accused Special Envoy Volker Perthes of contributing to the outbreak of the conflict with his “biased” behavior and “misleading” style.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Saturday that he was “shocked” by Al-Burhan’s letter, in which he called on him to “nominate an alternative” to Berthes. The Sudanese army commander also accused the UN envoy of “fraud and misleading” while leading a political process that preceded the outbreak of the war.
Perthes had repeatedly expressed his “optimism” about reaching an agreement and said he was “surprised” by the war.
For its part, Washington expressed its “strong support” and “confidence” in the UN envoy.
Despite Al-Burhan’s message, his new deputy in the leadership of the ruling Sovereignty Council, Malik Agar, said in a statement on Saturday that he had spoken to Bertis about “how to work to resolve the crisis and end the fighting,” which reflects a clear division over the matter within the council.
In addition to the efforts of the Americans and the Saudis, the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development in East Africa (IGAD) are seeking to organize talks in Sudan.
On Sunday, the African Union said in a statement on the situation in Sudan that it had “adopted a road map” stipulating “the cessation of hostilities and the resumption of the transition to a democratic government led by civilians.”