Reuters: The armistice in Sudan revives hopes of stopping the war after weeks of violent fighting

Residents said artillery fire could be heard in parts of Khartoum and warplanes circled overhead on Tuesday, although an internationally monitored ceasefire appeared to bring some respite from heavy fighting in the Sudanese capital.

Nocturnal airstrikes were reported in at least one area after the ceasefire began late Monday, but residents reported relative calm.

The agency added that the truce was agreed upon in talks in Jeddah on Saturday, after five weeks of fierce battles between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces. It is being tracked by Saudi Arabia and the United States and is intended to allow the delivery of humanitarian relief.

Sudanese activists wrote to the UN envoy to Sudan welcoming the ceasefire agreement but complaining of massive human rights violations against civilians that they said occurred as the fighting raged and must be investigated.

Activists and aid workers said neighborhood committees that have been at the forefront of local relief efforts in the capital are preparing to receive supplies, although much of the aid that has arrived in Port Sudan on the Red Sea coast has yet to be distributed as agencies await security clearance.

The medical and humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders, which runs projects in 10 states in Sudan, said there had been violence in parts of the country, including several towns in the western region of Darfur.

The ceasefire agreement raised hopes for an end to the war that has forced some 1.1 million people to flee their homes, including more than 250,000 to neighboring countries.

“Our only hope is that the truce works, so that we can go back to our normal lives, feel safe, and go back to work again,” said Atef Salah El-Din, 42, a resident of Khartoum.

Although fighting continued during previous ceasefires, this was the first formal agreement to be agreed upon after negotiations.

The ceasefire agreement includes for the first time a monitoring mechanism that includes the army and the Rapid Support Forces, as well as representatives from Saudi Arabia and the United States, which brokered the agreement after talks in Jeddah.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the monitoring mechanism would be “far away”, without giving details.

Hold the truce violators accountable

“If the ceasefire is violated, we will know and hold the violators accountable through our sanctions and other tools at our disposal,” he said in a video message.

“The Jeddah talks had a narrow focus. Ending the violence and providing assistance to the Sudanese people. Finding a lasting solution to this conflict will require much more than that,” he added.

Shortly before the ceasefire took effect, the RSF released an audio message from its commander, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemedti, thanking Saudi Arabia and the United States but urging his men to victory.

“We will not back down until we end this coup,” he said.

The two sides accused each other of trying to seize power at the start of the conflict on April 15.

Sudanese activists have complained of indiscriminate shelling and airstrikes on residential areas, as well as the use of civilians as human shields, extrajudicial killings, torture and sexual violence.

Doctors Without Borders said that violence, looting, and administrative and logistical challenges have continuously hampered efforts to expand its activities since the fighting began on 15 April.

“We are witnessing a violation of humanitarian principles and humanitarian space shrinking on a scale I have rarely seen before,” said Jean-Nicolas Armstrong Dangelser, MSF’s emergency coordinator in Sudan.

The crisis is also putting pressure on Sudan’s neighbours. A senior Red Cross official said on Tuesday that Sudanese refugees were pouring into Chad so quickly that it would be impossible to move them all to safer places before the rainy season begins in late June, citing the risk of disaster.

Between 60,000 and 90,000 people have fled to neighboring Chad, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said this week.

Source: بوابة الحرية والعدالة by

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