Sunday saw a pause in the fighting in Khartoum, marking the start of a 72-hour ceasefire designed to alleviate the tensions between warring Sudanese military factions. The truce follows overnight skirmishes and air strikes that have seen the country in turmoil for over two months.
The Sudanese army and the competing Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have agreed to a ceasefire commencing at 6 a.m., during which they pledge to abstain from military assaults and advantage-seeking tactics. The truce also facilitates the delivery of much-needed aid, according to Saudi and US mediators. However, skepticism remains as past ceasefire attempts have been unsuccessful in quelling the violence.
The ongoing struggle for power between the two military factions has converted the nation’s capital into a battlefield rife with looting, incited violence in different regions, and spurred an intensification of violence in western Sudan’s Darfur.
Just prior to the truce, witnesses reported air strikes and skirmishes across various areas of Khartoum and its neighboring city, Omdurman.
Khartoum resident Salaheldin Ahmed, 49, described the situation as calm compared to the terrifying air strikes of the previous night. He expressed hopes that the ceasefire could symbolize the “end of the beginning” of the war. “We are exhausted,” he added. “We’ve had enough of war, death, and looting.”
Past truces, negotiated by Saudi Arabia and the US in Jeddah, have enabled some degree of humanitarian aid delivery during moments of decreased fighting. However, both factions have consistently breached these agreements.
The conflict, which emerged over disagreements surrounding the transition to a civilian government post-election, has intensified since the start of June. It follows four years after the overthrow of Omar al-Bashir during a public uprising.
A donors conference set to take place in Geneva on Monday, hosted by Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Nations, aims to secure pledges for humanitarian aid in Sudan.
The UN has stated that more than half of Sudan’s 49 million population now require humanitarian assistance, necessitating an estimated $3 billion in funding until year-end.
Additionally, close to $500 million is needed to address the refugee crisis instigated by the conflict. The war has driven over 500,000 people to seek refuge in neighboring countries, while nearly 1.7 million have been displaced within Sudan.