Renewed fighting erupts in Sudan capital Khartoum as ceasefire expires

Recent scenes of El Hurriya Street in Khartoum as fighting, looting, and shortages wreck the city (File photo: RD)

KHARTOUM / OMDURMAN / KHARTOUM BAHRI / JEDDAH –


Heavy fighting erupted between units of the warring Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in various points in and around the Sudan capital Khartoum on Sunday evening, after a 24-hour humanitarian ceasefire lapsed that early morning.

Callers to Radio Dabanga describe the ceasefire as ‘an unprecedented success’, and the US/Saudi joint facilitators have voiced satisfaction at the reduced fighting during the duration of the truce. However, the facilitators note that there were violations, and condemn “the immediate resumption of intense violence following the expiration of the ceasefire”.

Conflicting reports

Sources close to the SAF shared images celebrating the recapture of the Halfaya bridge linking Khartoum North (Khartoum Bahri) and Omdurman. However the RSF said in a statement that it had thwarted attempts by the army to move towards the bridge.

Listeners told Radio Dabanga that the scope of the battles, accompanied by air and artillery bombardment and ground offensive, expanded to include large parts of Khartoum, Omdurman, and Bahri. There were air raids on El Ghaba Street in Khartoum, El Salha in Omdurman, and Hajj Yousef and Sharg El Nil (East Nile) in Khartoum North

Artillery shelling also included Sports City, Sitteen Street, El Quoz, Rumeila and El Azhari neighbourhood in Khartoum.

The RSF said it had repelled army movements towards areas where it was stationed in East Nile and Khartoum’s El Ruwad compound and said it was besieging armoured vehicles.

A resident of Omdurman told Radio Dabanga that the areas of Arbaeen Street and El Arda witnessed fierce battles with various weapons and continued until Sunday afternoon, and said that civilians were killed or injured when shells hit private homes.

Civilian deaths

The Southern Khartoum Resistance Committees confirmed that five people were killed and others injured when the neighbourhoods of El Azhari and El Salama were hit by artillery shells on Sunday.

The resistance committees said in a statement yesterday that the artillery shelling affected the neighbourhoods of El Azhari and El Salama.

Three people were killed and others were wounded in Maygoma and Muzdalifa near Haj Youssef in Khartoum North (Khartoum Bahri) after shells hit their homes. The resistance committee of Muzdalifa said shells landed on two houses in Muzdalifa and Maygoma.

‘Truce a success’

Some callers described the latest 24-hour ceasefire as ‘an unprecedented success’, in contrast to previous ceasefires that saw widespread violations on both sides. They told Radio Dabanga that during the ceasefire, the sounds of aircraft, shelling, and other weapons fire stopped. Witnesses say that the RSF has withdrawn from Kafouri and other neighbourhoods in Khartoum, however this is difficult to confirm independently.

The capital witnessed a marked increase in the movement of civilians during the truce. Some say they returning to inspect their homes, however plumes of smoke continued to rise from warehouses in Khartoum for the fourth day and they noted that looting continued in a number of neighbourhoods.

Joint facilitators

In a joint statement on Sunday, the USA and Saudi Arabia, facilitators of the latest ceasefire, and of the fragile Jeddah talks over the past weeks, note that “during the 24-hour ceasefire that concluded on June 11, 2023, the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) demonstrated effective command and control over their forces, resulting in reduced fighting throughout Sudan that enabled delivery of vital humanitarian assistance and the achievement of some confidence building measures.”

However, the facilitators lament that “there were violations, and, following the expiration of the short-term ceasefire, facilitators have been deeply disappointed by the immediate resumption of intense violence, which we strongly condemn,” noting that that “the facilitators stand ready to reconvene formal talks in Jeddah, but only once the parties demonstrate their commitment to uphold their obligations under the Jeddah Declaration to Protect the Civilians of Sudan”.

In their statement, the facilitators reiterate that there is no acceptable military solution to the conflict. “Besides engaging with the parties, facilitators continue to coordinate with regional and international partners to stop the fighting and minimise its impact on the region, and to intensify coordination with Sudanese civilian stakeholders, who must be the authors of their country’s future.”

In a statement on May 31, the SAF announced their withdrawal from further participation in the Jeddah talks due to the “repeated violations” by the RSF.

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