Sudan sees lull in fighting on first day of Eid Al Fir

More than 400 people have been killed and thousands wounded in nearly week-long conflict


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Published: Fri 21 Apr 2023, 11:40 PM

Street fighting between the forces of two rival generals eased in parts of Sudan's capital Friday, witnesses reported, after repeated calls for an end-of-Ramadan ceasefire to the nearly week-long conflict.

More than 400 people have been killed and thousands wounded since the fighting erupted Saturday between forces loyal to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and is commonly known as Hemeti.

The army announced Friday it had "agreed to a ceasefire for three days" to "enable citizens to celebrate Eid al-Fitr and allow the flow of humanitarian services", which UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had called for a day earlier.

Witnesses in several areas of Khartoum reported a rare lull in the fighting Friday evening, after explosions had rocked the city for the seventh straight day.

Eid is meant to be spent "with sweets and pastries, with happy children, and people greeting relatives", Khartoum resident Sami al-Nour told AFP. Instead, there has been "gunfire and the stench of blood all around us".

Soldiers and paramilitaries fought fierce street battles in densely populated districts of Khartoum, with witnesses reporting blasts near the army headquarters in the city of five million.

The RSF, a powerful force formed from members of the Janjaweed militia involved in years of violence in the western Darfur region, had earlier said they would commit to a 72-hour truce starting at dawn (0400 GMT).

But this failed to take hold, like two previous ceasefires, with the crackle of gunfire still heard as columns of black smoke drifted overhead.

The World Health Organization said 413 people had been killed and 3,551 wounded in the fighting across Sudan, but the death toll is thought to be higher, with many wounded unable to reach hospitals.

The International Committee of the Red Cross urged "immediate and unimpeded humanitarian access", stressing this was a "legal obligation under international humanitarian law".


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