Sudan crisis: Fighting continues on Eid day amid ceasefire

Amid relentless fighting with airstrikes, around 5m people are seeking shelter in homes without food, water or electricity

Web Desk
A general view shows smoke billowing in Khartoum on April 20, 2023. — AFP
A general view shows smoke billowing in Khartoum on April 20, 2023. — AFP

The fierce fighting continued on the first day of Eid ul Fitr amid calls by the international community for a ceasefire at the end of Ramadan, with armed men facing each other with heavy gunfire and explosions in Sudan's capital Khartoum.

World Health Organisation (WHO) said that more than 400 people have been killed and thousands have been injured since the clashes erupted on Saturday between troops loyal to Sudan's army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, the commander of the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) — known as Hemeti.

The Central Committee of Sudan Doctors said: "Overnight, as the Eid al-Fitr celebrations marking the end of the Muslim Ramadan month of fasting began, several areas of Khartoum were bombed and reported shelling and clashes for the sixth straight night."

Amid the relentless fighting with airstrikes, around five million people are seeking shelter in their homes without food, water or electricity.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken separately urged the conflicting parties for a ceasefire during the last days of Ramadan.

The RSF which came out of the Janjaweed militia said they would commit to a 72-hour ceasefire starting at dawn (0400 GMT).

However, it did not continue for long similar to previous ceasefire calls.

The major cause of the bitterness between the Burhan and Daglo is the matter of RSF's integration into the regular army. It was a key condition for a final deal seeking Sudan’s democratic transition.

Civil war unfolding

A number of Burhan's loyalists protested on Thursday in Port Sudan against the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — accused of connections with Dagalo.

Since the standoff began, Burhan for the first time appeared on TV with a recorded address and said: "For Eid this year, our country is bleeding: destruction, desolation and the sound of bullets have taken precedence over joy."

"We hope that we will come out of this ordeal more united... a single army, a single people... towards a civilian power."

The International Crisis Group (IGC) urged urgent steps lets to resolve the crisis lest the country plunges into "full-blown civil war". It also noted that "the nightmare scenario that many feared in Sudan is unfolding."

The World Food Programme (WFP) in a warning said that the violence could plunge millions more into hunger in a country where 15 million people — one-third of the population — need aid.

WFP ceased its operations in Sudan after its three workers were killed on Saturday. It has suspended its Sudan operations after the killing of three WFP workers on Saturday.