Relative calm in Sudan on first days of ‘donor conference’ truce

Streets in Sudan before the war (social media)

KHARTOUM – June 19, 2023

Khartoum is seeing relative calm after a new 72-hour ceasefire between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) came into effect yesterday morning, ahead of today’s donor conference in Geneva. The death toll of air strikes on Saturday has climbed to at least 30.

The two sides observed the truce remarkably well on Sunday, Siddig Tawir, a leading member of the Socialist Arab Ba’ath Party and former member of the Sovereignty Council, told Radio Dabanga.

Movement of people increased and so did other traffic whilst markets reopened.

Reports from today also indicate that the truce is upheld and that the streets look “almost normal”.

Nevertheless, people are worried that the fighting will intensify after the ceasefire and “many are hoping to leave Khartoum before the truce ends,” Tawir said. 

‘Many are hoping to leave Khartoum before the truce ends’

Siddig Tawir

‘Dropper truce’

The politician is critical of the reasons behind the truce. He said that the two sides agreed to a truce in order to allow a donors’ conference to be held in Geneva today.

The pledging conference aims to raise funds for humanitarian aid to the country.

A record 25 million people, more than half of Sudan’s population, need aid according to the United Nations, which says that it has only received a fraction of the funding that is needed.

Tawir called the agreement “a dropper truce” and considered it “blackmailing of the mediation and the Sudanese people”. He called for a long-term truce instead to provide an opportunity for proper solutions.

As previously reported by Radio Dabanga, the facilitators warned warring parties that if the truce does not hold, they will be compelled to consider adjourning the Jeddah talks.

Both warring parties promised that they would abide by the truce and called on each other to do so but an SAF spokesperson said that it “would respond decisively to any violations of the Rapid Support Forces during the armistice period”.

Several political groups in Sudan, including the Sudanese Congress Party and the Revolutionary Front, welcomed the truce but urged the warring parties to abide by it.

The National Umma Party (NUP) criticised some media reporting “as malicious campaigns from the mouthpieces of the defunct regime and its various arms” that aim to block the road to the Jeddah platform by targeting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Malik Agar, Vice-President of the Sovereignty Council, predicted the failure of the Jeddah platform and said that “all initiatives aim to occupy Sudan” in a speech at a symposium in Cairo on Saturday.

Death toll

The days before the truce saw fierce fighting and dozens of civilian deaths.

The area of Yarmouk in south-west Khartoum nearby the densely populated Mayo neighbourhood, considered part of the ‘Southern Belt’ of Khartoum, was subjected to air strikes on Saturday that killed dozens of civilians.

The army’s air strikes took place near El Ezba Market, south of Yarmouk. The Southern Belt is part of the periphery of Khartoum and is known to be poor.

Preliminary estimates by the Southern Khartoum Emergency Room on Saturday reported that 17 people were killed, including 5 children and women and elderly people, in what they called the Yarmouk Massacre, and that 25 houses were destroyed.

The Sudanese Doctors Union announced later that more than 30 people were killed and said that dozens more homes collapsed in the two days after the bombing.

Callers from Khartoum told Radio Dabanga earlier that four siblings were killed on Friday in the El Kadsiya neighbourhood in Sharg El Nil after their house was shelled. In Omdurman, eight people were reportedly killed that day.

Scenes on the streets of El Sawra neighbourhood in Omdurman last week (social media)

The federal Minister of Health reported that more than 3,000 people have been killed and 6,000 injured since the outbreak of the war on April 15.

The ministry documented at least 2,200,000 million displaced and refugees.