By Khalid Abdelaziz
DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia and the United States called on Sunday for an extension of a ceasefire agreement that has brought some respite in a six-week war between military factions, but little humanitarian aid for civilians.
Clashes erupted overnight in the capital Khartoum and neighboring Omdurman across the Nile, residents said, while human rights monitors reported deadly fighting in El Fashir, one of the main towns in the western region of Darfur.
The conflict between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) that erupted on April 15 has left the capital reeling from fierce battles, lawlessness and a collapse of services, driving out more than 1 .3 million people from their homes and threatening to destabilize the region. .
A week-long ceasefire brokered in Saudi and US talks in Jeddah is set to last until Monday evening. The two countries are remotely monitoring the truce, which has been repeatedly violated, and have called on the army and the RSF “to continue discussions to reach an agreement on the extension of the ceasefire”.
“While imperfect, an extension will nonetheless facilitate the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance to the people of Sudan,” Saudi Arabia and the United States said in a joint statement.
The RSF said it was ready to discuss the possibility of a renewal and that it would continue to monitor the truce “to test the seriousness and the commitment of the other party to proceed or not to renew the agreement. “.
There was no statement on the possible renewal of the ceasefire from the army.
More than 300,000 people have crossed Sudan’s borders since the fighting began, with the largest number heading north to Egypt from Khartoum or west to Chad from Darfur.
In Khartoum, factories, offices, houses and banks have been looted or destroyed. Electricity, water and telecommunications are often cut off, there are severe shortages of medicines and medical equipment and food supplies are running out.
“We left because of the impact of the war. I have children and I fear for them because of the lack of medical care,” said a resident of the capital, Samia Suleiman, 29, speaking to to Reuters from the road to Egypt.
“I also want my children to have a chance to go to school. I don’t think things in Khartoum will recover soon.”
SOME RESPITE FROM THE FIGHTS
The truce agreement brought some respite from heavy fighting, but sporadic clashes and airstrikes continued.
The United Nations and aid groups say that despite the truce, they have struggled to obtain bureaucratic approvals and security guarantees to transport aid and personnel to Khartoum and other places in the need. Warehouses were looted.
Violence has erupted in several parts of Darfur, already marked by conflict and displacement, with hundreds of deaths recorded in El Geneina near the border with Chad.
In recent days, fighting has also broken out in El Fashir, capital of North Darfur state.
A hospital in El Fashir had recorded three deaths and 26 injuries on Saturday, including children, according to the Darfur Bar Association, an activist group. Many more people were missing, he added.
Across the country, the Health Ministry said at least 730 people died in the fighting, although the true figure is likely much higher. It separately recorded up to 510 deaths in El Geneina.
(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Frances Kerry)