Sudan Violence: Truce reduces clashes, but little relief for humanitarian crisis
Last updated on May 29th, 2023 at 05:04 am
Although Sudan’s capital Khartoum was relatively calm on Saturday morning as a seven-day ceasefire appeared to have reduced clashes between the two warring parties, it has not yet provided the promised humanitarian aid to millions still trapped in the city.
A ceasefire agreement signed on Monday by the regular army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) aimed to facilitate wider peace talks sponsored by the US and Saudi Arabia, in addition to securing safe passage for relief supplies.
Khartoum was quite calm on Saturday, although occasional clashes were reported overnight. Gulf broadcaster Al-Arabiya reported some clashes between the rival factions in northwestern Khartoum and southern Omdurman, a city neighbouring the capital.
The RSF, led by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, accused the army on Saturday of violating the truce and destroying Sudan’s mint in an air strike. However, the army had accused the paramilitary group on Friday of targeting the mint.
Since the violent conflict erupted on April 15, at least 730 civilians have been killed and thousands of others injured to varying severities. More than a million Sudanese have been forced to leave their homes, fleeing either abroad or to safer parts of the country.
Those who are still trapped in the capital are constantly living in fear, amid a shortage of food, water and medicine, with almost no phone networks and electricity. Looters have ransacked a number of houses, especially in well-off neighbourhoods.
Numerous humanitarian agencies say despite the ceasefire they have struggled to get the security guarantees to transport relief supplies as well as staff in safer parts of Sudan to the capital and other hot zones. Warehouses have been ransacked as well.
Late on Friday, the governmental Combating Violence Against Women and Children Unit said it had received troubling reports of 25 cases of rape in the fragile Darfur region and 24 reports of rape in the capital. It revealed potential connections of the perpetrators with the RSF, according to victims.
The paramilitary group, however, has rejected all reports that its soldiers are engaged in looting or sexual assaults.