Seven-day ceasefire imminent, yet Khartoum ravaged by bewildering air strikes
Hours before a ceasefire was supposed to start, Sudan’s army conducted air strikes in the capital, leaving residents bewildered and panicked.
Witnesses reported that attacks continued into the evening, with vehicles from mobile units of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces being targeted.
Both factions have stated that they will abide by the ceasefire, which is set to begin at 21:45 local time. However, this has been the case with previous ceasefires that failed to stop the conflict.
The ceasefire deal includes a monitoring mechanism involving the army and the RSF, as well as representatives from Saudi Arabia and the United States, who brokered the agreement after talks in Jeddah.
This deal has brought hope to a war that has displaced over a million people from their homes and driven 250,000 to flee to neighbouring countries, raising concerns of instability in the region.
Residents reported air strikes in Khartoum, Omdurman, and Bahri, with clashes heard in central Khartoum. The army is struggling to oust the RSF from strategic positions and neighbourhoods where they have occupied civilian buildings, while the RSF has proven adept at ground fighting. The situation has left millions trapped in their homes and neighbourhoods, with worsening lawlessness, looting, and power and water cuts. Food supplies are running low in some areas, and most hospitals have ceased to operate.
The Jeddah agreement is focused on allowing aid and restoring essential services. Mediators say further talks will be necessary to broker a permanent peace agreement involving civilian involvement.
The conflict began in Khartoum amidst plans for army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and RSF commander Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo to sign up for a new political transition towards elections under civilian rule.
Burhan and Hemedti assumed top positions on Sudan’s ruling council following the overthrow of former leader Omar al-Bashir in 2019, sharing power with civilians. In 2021, they staged a coup as a deadline to hand leadership of the transition to civilians approached.
The violence has not been limited to Khartoum. Fighting has also erupted in the western region of Darfur, which has already been scarred by two decades of conflict and unrest. The World Health Organization reports that 705 people have been killed across Sudan, with at least 5,287 injured, although the actual death toll is believed to be much higher.