Sudan’s RSF announces 72-hour ceasefire amid Khartoum fighting

World leaders have been calling on Sudan’s warring factions to observe a ceasefire for Eid al-Fitr which starts on Friday.

Sudan’s paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has announced it will shortly begin a ceasefire despite continued heavy fighting with the army in the capital Khartoum.

The RSF said in a statement it would observe a 72-hour ceasefire, which would come into effect at 6am (04:00 GMT) on Friday, which marks the beginning of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

“The armistice coincides with the blessed Eid al-Fitr, and to open humanitarian corridors to evacuate citizens and give them the opportunity to greet their families,” the statement said.

Khartoum was rocked by heavy shelling in the early hours of Friday, with the RSF accusing the army of staging a “sweeping attack” on the capital.

An Al Jazeera correspondent in the north of the city reported an exchange of fire between the RSF and the army a few minutes before the paramilitary’s truce was supposed to start.

There was no word from the army on whether it would observe a ceasefire.

There have been a series of failed ceasefires since the violent power struggle broke out last weekend between the army under General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the RSF, which is led by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. The two men were previously in an alliance as leaders of Sudan’s ruling military government.

People crowding around a bus in Khartoum as they flee the city. They have suitcases with them.
Thousands have fled Khartoum because of the fighting with many others trying to leave [El-Tayeb Siddig/Reuters]

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was among prominent international leaders who recently called for the warring factions to observe a three-day truce over Eid and allow civilians to reach safety.

At least 350 people have been killed in the fighting so far.

Thousands of civilians have fled Khartoum and large numbers of people have also crossed into Chad to flee fighting in the western region of Darfur.

The United Nations refugee agency told Al Jazeera that the “vast majority” of those who had crossed the border into Chad were women and children.

“They have fled seemingly overnight with nothing,” UNHCR global spokesperson Kathryn Mahoney said, noting that the Sudan violence signalled a “pretty significant displacement crisis” since there were already more than one million refugees in Sudan even before the army and RSF began fighting.

Source: Al Jazeera